More than 650 residents and 170 first responders are in temporary housing in Kentucky following an outbreak of deadly tornadoes that ravaged the Midwest Dec. 10, killing almost 100, and causing $3.6 billion in damage across nine states.
According to United Press International, 76 out of the 90-100 deaths took place in Kentucky alone, with another six killed in Illinois, four in Tennessee, and two each in Arkansas and Missouri.
In total, 35 tornadoes across nine different states were confirmed by the National Weather Service, but the largest appears to have hit Mayfield, Kentucky, striking the community as an EF-4, the second strongest tornado, with wind speeds of 190 mph, according to the UPI story.
The twister stayed on the ground for 163 miles cutting across the state from the southwestern part of the state to the northeast.
Property industry company CoreLogic, which compiles data and analysis in the housing industry, estimates 14,884 buildings were damaged during the tornadoes, with 11,762 of those in Kentucky alone.
The company estimates the damage to total $3.6 billion, with $2.8 billion in Kentucky.
President Joe Biden visited Kentucky on Dec. 15 to survey the devastation and promised the federal government's help in the recovery and rebuilding efforts to come, the Courier-Journal reported at the time.
"There's no red tornadoes, and there's no blue tornadoes," Biden said, promising federal funding to cover 100% of the eligible costs for cleaning up and other needs. "There's no red states or blue states."
He also promised that federal assets would remain in the region until the rebuilding effort is complete.
"We're going to stay until this gets finished and totally reconstructed," Biden said in the newspaper's report. "A lot of people have gone through a God-awful mess. Right now, they're just recovering from the shock of it all."
As the cleanup continues, families like the Johnsons, with Melissa, Johnathan, and their two children, have been moving from place to place, staying in campers, and sleeping on air mattresses with friends from church after their home in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, was destroyed in the storm's wake.
"It's overwhelming, and there's an urgency to get everything salvaged and together and to try to make it semi-normal again with Christmas coming up," Melissa Johnson, a 36-year-old teacher, told The Wall Street Journal. "We made it through, and looking back, it was totally in the hands of God because we shouldn't have."
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