Thousands of residents from Arkansas to Illinois are reeling from a weekend of devastating tornadoes that touched down across six states and left at least 88 dead. Around 30 tornadoes rampaged through farmland and towns, with one of the largest twisters spreading debris 9,144 metres into the air and causing damage in four states.
At least 70 of those who died resided in Kentucky, where the entire town of Mayfield was all but wiped off the map. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has called the tragedy the “most severe tornado event in Kentucky’s history.” While the images on the ground are heartwrenching, understanding the scope of the damage is even clearer from space. The following satellites images show the destruction the tornadoes left in their path.
Arkansas’ Monette Manor Nursing Home
Two residents of Arkansas’ Monette Manor nursing home were killed and five were injured after a tornado tore the building to shreds. Around 20 of the home’s 67 elderly residents reportedly had to be rescued from the building, which had its roof ripped off during the storm. Residents were reportedly either transferred to another nearby nursing home or taken to a local hospital.
Farms Faced Major Infrastructure Damage
The tornadoes tore through the agricultural heartland, an area filled with farms housing grain, crops, and livestock. In Kentucky, the storm destroyed massive grain bins and several chicken hatcheries and severely damaged a University of Kentucky research facility. The image above shows the toll the storm took on a farmhouse in Monette, Arkansas.
“It’s just a lot of devastation that we have not seen in my years of working in emergency services,” Bob Blankenship, Monette’s mayor, told CNN.
Mayfield, Kentucky — Reduced to Rubble
Large swaths of the Mayfield, Kentucky, were razed, with entire blocks reduced to rubble. On Tuesday, thousands of residents were still left without heat, water, and electricity, a struggle local officials say they may have to endure for weeks or more. As many as 26,000 homes were reportedly without power across the state. With nowhere else to turn, some residents whose homes were destroyed have reportedly been told to use the lodges in state parks for shelter.
Mayfield Consumer Products Factory
At least eight workers died at a nearby candle factory. That factory, Mayfield Consumer Products, supplies products for brands like Bath & Body Works. It has also come under scrutiny for safety issues. Multiple factory workers said managers threatened to fire them if they left their shift during the storm, according to NBC News. A spokesperson for the company denied the workers’ allegations, calling them “absolutely untrue.”
A 133-Year-Old Courthouse Destroyed
Among the buildings most damaged by the tornado in Mayfield was the Graves County Courthouse. Erected in 1888, the ornate Victorian-style building sat in the heart of the town. State and county offices have been forced to relocate to a nearby shopping plaza that will act as the temporary residence for the sheriff, county clerk, circuit court clerk, county attorney, drivers licence office, district and court judges, and other services.
Homes and Businesses Damaged Beyond Repair
The image above shows the damage to homes so many residents in Mayfield and surrounding areas bore witness to. It’s unclear just how many homes and businesses have been left irreparable from the storm but the AP estimates hundreds have been reduced to debris.
An Amazon Warehouse Collapsed
At least six people died following the dramatic collapse of an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, impacted by the storms. Initially, it was unclear exactly how many people were at the Amazon site when the building collapsed, but at least 45 were rescued. The storm managed to rip off the facility’s roof and destroy two 12-metre high concrete walls. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating has opened an investigation into the warehouse collapse.