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Severe tornado hits Mayfield, Kentucky, destroying buildings; Gov. says likely 80 or more have died

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Posted at 12:10 AM, Dec 11, 2021

MAYFIELD, Ky. (WTVF / AP) — Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said at least 80 people died from tornadoes in western Kentucky or "significantly up north of that."

Beshear said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union that he has received reports that show more than 80 people in the state were killed.

"That number is gonna exceed more than 100," he added. "This is the deadliest tornado event we've ever had. I think it's going to be the longest and deadliest tornado event in U.S. history."

Gov. Beshear has declared a state of emergency following tornadoes throughout Western Kentucky on Friday night. One tornado moved through Mayfield, Kentucky, leaving a massive wake of damage and destroying several buildings. A plant in Mayfield could have more than a dozen dead, Beshear said.

"This has been the most devastating tornado event in our state’s history," Beshear said at a news conference Saturday morning.

Sky5 flies over Mayfield, Kentucky

"It’s devastating. There were four tornadoes one of which was the 200-mile tornado. The longest one was a 227-mile tornado it touched down and stayed down for that period of time," he said at an earlier press conference.

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Storm path of the first line of storms

The Kentucky National Guard and the Kentucky State Police have been activated to help communities impacted.

RELATED: HOW TO HELP FAMILIES IN KENTUCKY IMPACTED BY TORNADOES

"I can't get through to family I have in the area," he said. "I know there are other people going through the same thing. It's going to be all right. It's going to be hard. We will make it through this too.

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Damage to buildings on the court square in Mayfield, Kentucky from a tornado on Friday, December 10th
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Damage to buildings on the court square in Mayfield, Kentucky from a tornado on Friday, December 10th
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Damage to buildings on the court square in Mayfield, Kentucky from a tornado on Friday, December 10th

According to WPSD Local 6, The Graves County Emergency Management Office says a shelter has been opened at Mayfield High School. They're also saying that people who can safely walk can head to Fire Station 1 at 211 E. Broadway Street.

West Kentucky Rural Electric says power outages in the area could be "lengthy," as transmission lines are down and there is 'widespread damage' to their system. They also add that cell towers have been damaged and that phone lines are overwhelmed.

Storm spotters say that debris were thrown 30,000 feet into the air.