Deadly tornadoes slam through six states

By Fernando Alfonso III, Adrienne Vogt, Nadeem Muaddi, Nectar Gan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 1:39 a.m. ET, December 12, 2021
59 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
6:18 p.m. ET, December 11, 2021

Tornado damages Mayfield area jail, deputy killed while working at candle factory

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Graves County jailer George Workman tells CNN that his main jail is in ruin and one of his deputies on assignment at a Mayfield, Kentucky, candle factory was killed when a tornado tore through it.

The deputy was at the factory as part of a work release program for low-security, low-level offenders that had just started last week, Workman said. Seven inmates were also on site at the factory; three of who were treated for injuries at the scene.

Kyanna Parsons-Perez, who was trapped under at least five feet of rubble, told CNN that those inmates helped rescue her and others from the rubble. 

Workman said that he was forced to evacuate the 83 inmates at the main jail to other facilities because the damage was so severe. 

"[The damage is] structurally bad enough that I question it’ll ever be able to open again," he said. 

No inmates were injured when the tornado hit the main jail, Workman said. 

"I’ve been in law enforcement and corrections since 1986 and I’ve never seen anything like this," he said. 

6:20 p.m. ET, December 11, 2021

Tennessee now has four storm-related deaths

From CNN's Joe Sutton

Murrell Rd. resident Keith Kruse surveys the damage from overnight storms that ripped through his community, Saturday, Dec. 11,  in Dickson Co., Tenn. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean/AP)
Murrell Rd. resident Keith Kruse surveys the damage from overnight storms that ripped through his community, Saturday, Dec. 11, in Dickson Co., Tenn. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean/AP)

Tennessee is now reporting a total of four weather-related deaths from the severe weather that hit the state overnight.

Tennessee Emergency Management spokesman Dean Flener tells CNN there were two people killed in Lake County, one in Obion County and another in Shelby County.

Lake County sits alongside the Mississippi River and borders Missouri. Obion County sits to Lake County's east and borders Kentucky, and Shelby County encompasses Memphis and sits along the state's border with Mississippi.

5:48 p.m. ET, December 11, 2021

Mayfield candle factory CEO was told about tornado striking facility around midnight

From CNN's Sharif Paget

Mayfield Consumer Products from above on December 11. (Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies)
Mayfield Consumer Products from above on December 11. (Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies)

The CEO of Mayfield Consumer Products, LLC., candle factory that was destroyed by overnight tornados in Mayfield, Kentucky, told CNN he's on the ground with first responders working on accounting for his employees that worked there Friday night. 

"We believe that there was approximately 110 of our co-workers there last night. And I know that we're trying to make sure that all are accounted for," Troy Propes told CNN in a Saturday phone interview.

"As you can imagine, we have been going nonstop since we got here, trying to get everything organized," he said. "And it's not something that we've ever done before, so trying to pull it all together. But we have a wonderful team of people that are working hard to take care of these employees and their families and hopefully get the assistance that they're going to need."

Propes added that they're putting together grieving counselors to help the victims. 

He said he was made aware of the tornado at around midnight, ET, and received his first photo of the factory at 2 a.m., which he said he didn't even recognize. 

"I know that Mayfield, Kentucky, will come out strong again, but it's going to be painful for many months ahead," he said. "Maybe many years."

6:00 p.m. ET, December 11, 2021

FedEx package deliveries delayed by tornadoes

From CNN's Ramishah Maruf

Fedex envelopes with the company logo (Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images)
Fedex envelopes with the company logo (Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images)

FedEx Express experienced "substantial disruptions" at its Memphis hub Friday night due to severe thunderstorms, the company said Saturday. 

As a result, it warned that there could be potential delays for US packages that were to be delivered December 11. It advised customers to check the status of their shipment and check for updates on its website, fedex.com.

Memphis is FedEx's primary air hub, as well as its headquarters, with about 1.4 million packages flown through the city every day. It advised customers to check the status of their shipments or look for updates on its website, fedex.com.

According to TEMA, Tennessee's emergency management agency, two lines of severe weather producing multiple tornadoes passed over West and Middle Tennessee Friday night into Saturday morning, affecting multiple counties. The agency said four weather-related fatalities were reported as of Saturday afternoon. One of those people killed were in Memphis' Shelby County.

5:49 p.m. ET, December 11, 2021

Mayfield churches announce plans for Sunday services

From CNN's Joe Sutton

Residents begin the process of salvaging their belongings after a tornado ripped through the area the previous evening on December 11, in Mayfield, Kentucky. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Residents begin the process of salvaging their belongings after a tornado ripped through the area the previous evening on December 11, in Mayfield, Kentucky. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Churches in hard-hit Mayfield, Kentucky, are informing their congregants of plans for services on Sunday. 

The Mayfield First United Methodist Church has sustained major damage, according to a post on the church’s Facebook page.

"We have suffered a major loss in this disaster; there is so much damage to our facilities. But that is a building. WE are the church. You. Your family. Your friends and your neighbors who call Mayfield First 'home.'"

However, another area church is opening their doors to Mayfield First United Methodist Church congregants.

The Christ United Methodist has invited members to attend and worship at their church at 11 a.m., ET, Mayfield First United Methodist Church announced in an update.

A second Mayfield church, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, announced church services tomorrow are cancelled. 

5:23 p.m. ET, December 11, 2021

Mayfield resident: “It’s all gone.”

From CNN's Harmeet Kaur

Steven Elder, a banker and community leader in Mayfield, Kentucky, says that the town has had a challenging time trying to keep its court square thriving, but “now it’s all gone.”

"Every historical building we have is on the ground. Churches that have been around for hundreds of years.”

Elder said the town’s American Legion Post 26 hall, its First Presbyterian Church, the historic Carr’s Steakhouse, and its City Hall are among the buildings that are completely gone.

“Short of us rebuilding, the way things look … it’ll never look the same," he said. "The whole town is gone."

5:21 p.m. ET, December 11, 2021

Children are among the 12 fatalities in Warren County, Kentucky, says coroner's office

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

The Warren County Coroner's office confirms to CNN there were 12 storm-related fatalities in Warren County, Kentucky. 

The deaths, Warren County Coroner Kevin Kirby says, range from children to adults. Kirby says that most of the fatalities are from the Russellville Road area.

Bowling Green is the county seat of Warren County. 

Kirby says he's been with the Warren County Coroner for almost 40 years, and he's never seen the type of damage or deaths like they've had with this storm. Even in a strong tornado storm. Kirby said he remembers a strong tornado storm in 1975, but reiterated that they did not see the type of damage or deaths then that they saw today.  

4:51 p.m. ET, December 11, 2021

Kentucky governor announces online portal where people can donate to those impacted by storms

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced the creation of the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, an online portal where people can donate funds to assist Kentuckians impacted by the devastation of the storms.

Beshear said the state’s Department of Transportation and Division of Forestry is currently working to clear roads in the state as emergency rescue crews travel to help neighborhoods hit by the storm.

4:34 p.m. ET, December 11, 2021

Texas governor approves FEMA request to aid in search and rescue efforts in Kentucky

From CNN’s Kay Jones

Debris is wrapped around damaged trees as emergency workers search through what is left of the Mayfield Consumer Products Candle Factory after it was destroyed by a tornado in Mayfield, Kentucky, on December 11. (John Amis/AFP/Getty Images)
Debris is wrapped around damaged trees as emergency workers search through what is left of the Mayfield Consumer Products Candle Factory after it was destroyed by a tornado in Mayfield, Kentucky, on December 11. (John Amis/AFP/Getty Images)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has approved a request from FEMA to deploy resources to help in the search and rescue efforts in Western Kentucky after the devastating tornadoes.

Abbott said he activated 10 Texas A&M Task Force 1 personnel along with a cache of equipment, according to a statement released Saturday afternoon.

The statement said specialized technical gear and command, control and communication equipment will be a part of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams heading to the region.

"The state of Texas stands ready to assist our friends in Kentucky as they continue their response and recovery efforts in the wake of deadly tornadoes that shook the western portion of their state overnight," Abbott said in the statement. "Thank you to the members of Texas A&M Task Force 1 who are making their way to Western Kentucky to help those in need.”