Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Saturday that he is "certain" more than 70 people are dead after a tornado traveled around 227 miles through the commonwealth and is wreaking havoc on even more states as it pushes eastward.
Beshear called it the most devastating tornado event in state history, and he said that the death toll could top 100.
"Everywhere along this line of this tornado where it touched down ... has been severely and significantly impacted," Beshear said.
"It is indescribable," he said. "The level of devastation is unlike anything I have ever seen."
Beshear earlier said about 110 people were inside a candle factory in Mayfield when the tornado struck.
At least four different tornadoes struck the state during the night.
"It hit Mayfield as hard as just about any town," the governor said.
Other nearby towns were also hit, he said.
He advised Kentucky residents to stay as safe as they can and warned them to stay off the roads as emergency crews continued their response.
He declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard, he said.
Police departments and other agencies were using heavy equipment to clear fallen trees and other debris, he said.
Earlier Saturday morning came reports that hundreds of customers were without electricity in Jefferson County, Kentucky, with an estimated 20,000 or more losing service statewide, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
The Kentucky State Police warned that "Loss of life is expected," in a social media post around 1 a.m. Saturday.
According to the National Weather Service, the tornado producing storm system is expected to go through southeastern Alabama, Georgia, and parts of the Florida panhandle this afternoon into tonight. Portions of the mid-Atlantic are also under a "marginal" risk of severe weather this evening.
During a press conference on Saturday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said that the Amazon warehouse collapse in Edwardsville has resulted in six deaths so far.