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Killer tornadoes rip through swath of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois

Tornadoes ripped across swaths of the South and Midwest on Friday, killing at least two people in a nursing home in Arkansas; slamming into an Amazon warehouse in Illinois, trapping people inside; and devastating the town of Mayfield, Kentucky. 

Two people were killed in a nursing home in Monette, Arkansas, according to KARK, and residents of the small town in the north east of the state were ordered to shelter in place.

Crews at the scene reported the nursing home had partially collapsed, with five others injured and as many as 20 people trapped, according to Craighead County Judge Marvin Day. 

Melissa Moon, a reporter with WREG3, tweeted a photo of the severely damaged Monette Manor nursing home, with what appeared to be a mangled bed in the parking lot. 

Almost 300 miles to the north of Monette, Southern Illinois Fire Incidents confirmed a ‘mass casualty incident’ at the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville and said more than 20 units of emergency responders were attending the scene.  

‘About a third of the warehouse is torn down and damaged from either straight by line winds or tornado,’ tweeted Jenna Rae, with Illinois’s KMOV station. 

One woman said she was speaking to a family member inside the warehouse as the storm hit.

‘He was on the phone with me while it was happening,’ Aisha White told KMOV. 

‘The tornado was hitting the back of the building, the trucks were coming in, I told him to jump out the truck and duck. 

‘We watched the building go up, stuff hitting the cars, I told him I was on my way.’ 

And in Kentucky, the town of Mayfield was hard-hit. Buildings were left without their roofs; large trees were uprooted; glass in store fronts was shattered, and debris scattered on the ground. 

The courthouse, built in 1888, was devastated, with the tower sheared off the building and the roof lifted off.

The wall of a candle factory collapsed, trapping people inside and leaving them begging for help.

‘We got hit by a hurricane – I’m at work in Mayfield, and we are trapped,’ said Kyanna Lou, broadcasting a Facebook Live from the dark, with a woman sobbing behind her and muffled shouts and moans.

‘Please, y’all. Get us some help. We’re at the candle factory in Mayfield.

‘Please, send us some help. The wall is stuck on me. Nobody can get to us, y’all please. Pray for us.’

She added: ‘We were all in the safe shelter place, the whole building fell. We are stuck.’ 

Emergency crews were on the scene in Monette, Arkansas, where two people died in a nursing home collapse

Emergency crews were on the scene in Monette, Arkansas, where two people died in a nursing home collapse

The Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, was pictured on Friday night with its roof ripped off after a tornado swept through the area

The Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, was pictured on Friday night with its roof ripped off after a tornado swept through the area

The huge tornado is seen as a black shadow in the sky, as emergency crews respond to the warehouse in Edwardsville

The huge tornado is seen as a black shadow in the sky, as emergency crews respond to the warehouse in Edwardsville

Lightning bolts can be seen in the distance as the emergency workers tried to free those trapped inside the Amazon warehouse

Lightning bolts can be seen in the distance as the emergency workers tried to free those trapped inside the Amazon warehouse

Mayfield, Kentucky, was the scene of devastation on Friday night after a tornado smashed through the centre, ripping the tower off the Victorian courthouse

Mayfield, Kentucky, was the scene of devastation on Friday night after a tornado smashed through the centre, ripping the tower off the Victorian courthouse

Storefronts in Mayfield, KY, were ripped open and their contents flung onto the sidewalk

Storefronts in Mayfield, KY, were ripped open and their contents flung onto the sidewalk

Mayfield, KY, was devastated by the tornado on Friday night

Mayfield, KY, was devastated by the tornado on Friday night

Large trees were uprooted and a dark shadow hung over the skies of Mayfield, Kentucky on Friday night

Large trees were uprooted and a dark shadow hung over the skies of Mayfield, Kentucky on Friday night

Mayfield had the grim distinction of being hit by among the most intense storms on record, with debris thrown 30,000 feet into the air, according to storm trackers.

Around Mayfield there was ‘absolute devastation’, said Brett Adair of Live Storms Media.  

Craig Ceecee, a meteorologist and researcher at Mississippi State university, described the Mayfield storm as ‘among the most intense ever recorded’.

He said it was ‘an extremely violent tornado’.

‘Communities being hit hard. And we won’t know how bad it is until morning. We have to think and pray for those being affected,’ he tweeted.  

And across the region, tornadoes on Friday night were barreling through parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky – with one becoming what a storm chaser said was the first quad-state tornado in U.S. history.

A tornado watch was in place until 2am CST.  

Photographs posted on social media in Arkansas showed tornadoes touching down on Friday night

Photographs posted on social media in Arkansas showed tornadoes touching down on Friday night

Footage on social media from across the region showed huge swirling towers of storm clouds sweeping across the plains.

Storm chasers photographed the tornado near Caruthersville in Missouri, along the I-55. 

Video showed multiple semis thrown onto their sides, twisted in the road.  

Observers speculated that the tornado was at four or even five on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale. 

Wind speeds of between 136 and 165mph are found in EF4 tornados, and of 200mpg in EF5 tornados.

Chris Jackson, a professional storm chaser, said that he had seen tractor trailers in Steele, Missouri, lifted off the ground and flung into the air.

‘A second tractor trailer was picked up and thrown on I-55 near exit 17,’ he tweeted. 

‘Just spoke to the driver. Has some minor cuts but is ok.’ 

Jackson said that emergency responders were flocking to the area, with their lights flashing as they raced to help people.

He said the power was down along the I-69 between Troy and Mayfield, Kentucky.  




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