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Deadly tornadoes strike Western Kentucky: gov. confirms more than 50 fatalities

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Office of Kentucky Governor
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A deadly night and morning for parts of the Commonwealth. Gov. Beshear says the death toll is at least 50 people after tornadoes touched down in the state, particularly in western Kentucky.

  

The governor made the announcement in an early Saturday morning briefing. He said a tornado was on the ground for about 200 miles in Kentucky and that it went through four states. He also said a collapse at a candle factory in Mayfield has resulted in "mass casualties." As of 4:45 a.m., more than 56,000 Kentucky customers are without power.

Gov. Beshear declared a state of emergency and the National Guard has been activated. 181 guardsmen are being deployed and will be arriving in communities on Saturday morning. The governor also requested an immediate federal emergency declaration.

"This has been one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history and some areas have been hit in ways that are hard to put into words," said Gov. Beshear.

Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said that this weekend's storms could surpass the 1974 tornado outbreak as one of the deadliest in Kentucky's history.

"Our hearts go out to the families that are in peril and all of the Kentuckians who have lost their lives," said Dossett.