A potentially record-breaking storm system has left devastation across six states and at least 90 dead. The late-season storm generated multiple tornadoes, including one that may have traveled 227 miles, potentially breaking a 96-year-old record. The storms also hit GM’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant and the National Corvette Museum.
On Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service warned residents across a number of states about a potentially dangerous storm system moving through their areas. States as far south as Texas and Alabama and as far north as Michigan faced high winds, hail and an outbreak of tornadoes. NWS is still surveying the damage to figure out the exact number of tornadoes, but the weather service notes 70 reported tornadoes during the event.
Bowling Green was hit by what NWS preliminary findings show to be at least EF-3, with a death toll of 15, reports the Lexington Herald Leader. GM’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant and the National Corvette Museum were damaged as well.
GM says that the event caused damage to the Corvette plant’s roof and an employee entrance, reports Automotive News. Thankfully, nobody was injured. The plant will close for the week as repairs are conducted.
One of the tornadoes traveled quite the distance, starting in northeastern Arkansas before finally end in Breckinridge County covering a distance of 223 miles.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear notes that the tornado may have actually gone further at 227 miles.
The National Weather Service is still surveying the damage to confirm if the tornado traveled the entire distance continuously. If it did, it would break the record held by the 1925 Tristate Tornado, which traveled 219 miles, leaving 695 dead and over 15,000 homes destroyed in its wake.
According to the New York Times, at least 90 people were killed across five states. Six were from Illinois, where an Amazon warehouse collapsed on workers. Kentucky fared the worst, with a confirmed 74 dead.
Mayfield, Kentucky stands out for heartbreaking damage, where preliminary findings show the town was hit by at least an EF-3.
In that town, a candle factory was flattened, trapping 110 workers. Rescue was hampered by blocked roads, but as WLKY reports, 90 people have been pulled out. Unfortunately, eight people were confirmed killed and eight more are missing. Beshear calls the tornado event the most devastating in Kentucky history.
Over at the National Corvette Museum, damage was noted to a few garages. The damage is minor enough that museum will remain open. The NCM Motorsports Park sustained heavy damage and all events have been canceled indefinitely.
Roads all over the impacted states remain closed or otherwise impassable. Unnecessary travel is not advised.
People are banding together to get each other back on their feet. Cleanup is underway in each state, and there are a number of ways to help those impacted, which can be found here.