BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A pair of Alabama storm chasers followed the “quad-state” tornado over the weekend from it’s start near Little Rock, Arkansas until they arrived at the candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, where they climbed through debris to search for survivors.
Heath Lollar and the Live Storms Media team observed the beginning of the storm Friday night near Jonesboro, Arkansas, where he said the tornado truly took form. As the night progressed into the early morning Saturday, Lollar remembers following the storm all the way to the candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, where at least eight people at the factory were reportedly killed.
The believed-to-be 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.
Radar data indicates that a single tornado may have tracked more than 250 miles from Arkansas into Kentucky.
At least 70 people are believed to be dead in Kentucky, according to Gov. Andy Beshear. Six people died at the Illinois Amazon facility that collapse as employees attempted to take cover. Two people lost their lives in Arkansas after tornadoes tore through the region.
Mayfield residents devastated by a tornado could be without heat, water and electricity in chilly temperatures for a long time as officials struggled to restore services. Thousands of families across the region will be forced from their homes during the holidays and then begin the long road of repairing or rebuilding their property.
Nexstar Media Group and CBS 42 are partnering with the Red Cross to raise disaster relief funds for those impacted by these storms. If you’d like to make a donation, click here. Online donation amounts begin as low as $10.
The full interview can be watched in the video player above.