NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The first-ever “quad-state” tornado may have been on the ground through parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky. It will be days before the National Weather Service will be able to confirm whether this was one tornado or multiple tornadoes, but severe weather and damaging winds led to multiple fatalities and left devastating destruction across multiple states.
The tornado, or tornadoes, tracked through portions of Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and may have been on the ground for more than 100 miles according to radar data. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Saturday that it traveled for 227 miles. The longest tornado on record is the tri-state tornado in March of 1925, which traveled 218 miles through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.
Radar data indicates that a single tornado may have tracked more than 250 miles from Arkansas into Kentucky. This would break the previous record for tornado path length set March 18, 1925, by the Tri-State Tornado. That path length was 219 miles.
Officials were still assessing the number of confirmed fatalities on Saturday. More than 70 people are expected to have died in Kentucky alone, Gov. Andy Beshear said. He estimated, however, that the death toll could exceed 100, in part due to a mass casualty event in Mayfield, where the roof of a candle factory collapsed with over 100 people inside the building.
Several other states were devastated by severe weather overnight from Friday into Saturday. At least two people were killed when a nursing home collapsed in Monette, Arkansas, and another two were killed at an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Illinois, which had its roof ripped off during the storm. Residents in Tennessee and Missouri have also lost their lives, according to local reports.