- A man in Bowling Green, Kentucky said the damage from Friday night’s tornadoes were “like something out of a movie.”
- Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency after a tornado ripped through the state.
- Tornadoes and storms on Friday night also left damage in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, and Tennessee.
A Kentucky man who witnessed the devastating damage that a series of tornadoes did in his community said the storms took just minutes to flatten hundreds of homes and buildings.
“It’s like something out of a movie to be honest with you,” Devin Clarkson, 29, who lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, told Insider. “I mean, you know it could happen to your hometown, but you never think it will.”
Clarkeson said the destruction left his hometown in “piles of houses.”
“If you took a house and put it in a bottle and shook it up and then poured it out, that’s what’s laying all over,” he added.
After a deadly tornado ripped through Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early Saturday morning. Footage captured by local journalists on the ground shows homes and businesses completely wrecked in piles of rubble in Mayfield, Kentucky, about 130 miles west of where Clarkson took video of the damage done to his hometown of Bowling Green.
Clarkson said he carried out dozens of wellness checks on neighbors and helped them leave to safer locations. As he helped one of his elderly neighbors, Clarkson picked up a photo of her and her husband off the ground, noting that it was likely “the only thing that she’ll get to keep” from her home.
“I went in through the front door and went downstairs, and she was laying in her bed and had full-on thought that her house was perfectly fine,” Clarkson said. “She asked me if I’d grab some stuff from upstairs for her, and I just kind of had to break it to her, like, ‘Ma’am, I’m sorry, but there’s no longer an upstairs to your house.'”
Gov. Beshear said that at least 70 people are feared dead in the wake of the tornado, adding that “this is going to be some of the worst tornado damage that we’ve seen in a long time.” The death toll is anticipated to exceed 100, he said.
Tornadoes and other severe weather hit multiple states including Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee. President Joe Biden issued a statement on Saturday morning offering aid to governors in the impacted states.
“To lose a loved one in a storm like this is an unimaginable tragedy,” Biden said. “We’re working with Governors to ensure they have what they need as the search for survivors and damage assessments continue.”
“We’re strong around here. We can build back up and go on,” Clarkson said. “We’re going to help each other and get through it.”