Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the death toll is expected to rise between 50 and 70 deaths in the wake of the tornadoes and storms that ripped through the Midwest.
“We have deaths in multiple counties,” he said during a live press conference Saturday morning.
“This is one of the toughest nights in Kentucky’s history… We are here for you. We love you. We are praying for you.”
Beshear declared a state of emergency earlier Saturday.
Officials said this could be the most devastating and largest tornadoes to ever touch down in Kentucky. A graphic provided during the briefing shows the distance the tornado traveled from when it first touched down — totaling 223 miles.
The National Guard and all state emergency services are being mobilized throughout the state as search and rescue efforts remain underway.
Power outages continues to increase significantly, officials said.
The tornado and deadly storm system ripped through Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Illinois on Friday night — destroying buildings, leaving others dead and dozens of others trapped inside buildings.
Three people died in severe weather in Tennessee, one person died and several were injured in an apparent tornado at an Arkansas nursing home, and emergency crews in southern Illinois were responding to reports of workers trapped inside an Amazon warehouse after its roof collapsed from storm damage.
At least one fatality was also reported in Missouri as severe storms, some believed to be tornadoes, swept across the Midwest and parts of the South late Friday and into Saturday morning.