Tornado Paths

An overview map showing all 23 significant (EF2+) tornado tracks. Zoom in to view the fatality locations.


In December of 2021, many of us watched as storms tore apart lives and communities across Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, and Kentucky. After events of this magnitude, images depicting seas of wreckage where homes and businesses once stood can blind us to the true nature of the loss at hand. Ranging from six days to 98 years of age, a total of 92 people lost their lives during the tornado event. They were cherished as friends or family by thousands. This article details the stories of every one of those people, as well as all of the 23 significant tornadoes that formed during this event.

This summary is a labor of love created by the following researchers/writers: Jen Narramore, Zach Reichle, Nelson Tucker and Nick Wilkes.

A special thanks to the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at The National Weather Service, Rick Smith, for his help and support. 

Unless otherwise stated, all photos of the fatalities are from

Tornado 1: Monette (AR)-Hayti (MO)-Samburg (TN) EF4

This long-lived tri-state tornado began at 7:07 pm CST, about 2.9 miles NNE of Bay, AR, in Craighead County. The vortex spent several miles in rural farmland, only affecting outbuildings during a gradual increase in strength. A farm tractor storage building was crushed northwest of Lake City. In six more miles, it passed along the western and northern fringes of Monette. A number of houses lost some or all of their roofs. Monette Manor nursing home was the worst hit. Portions of the large cinder block structure collapsed, with part of the roof caving in.

Some of the damage to Monette Manor nursing home. Image from the NWS Memphis.

The first fatality of this tri-state twister took place at the Monette Manor. Golden Wes Hembrey, 94, was a resident at the nursing home. He was killed when the tornado struck, causing debris from the roof of the building to collapse onto him.

Golden Wes Hembrey

In a December 13, 2021, article by FOX13 Memphis, Jimmie Hembrey insisted on checking on his brother after the storms passed. “They said we weren’t supposed to go up to the nursing home, but I said I’m going up there anyway.” Upon arrival, he learned from a nurse at the nursing home the worst possible news. “He was a jolly old man. It was a great loss, couldn’t have been predicted or helped I guess,” Jimmie mourned. Just the day before Golden’s death, his brother had paid him a visit. He recalled, “He was fine, talking and laughing and I said, ‘Well, looks to me like you are doing pretty good.’ He was like ‘Yeah, just eat and sleep. It’s the best job I ever had in my life.’”

Per his obituary, Golden was a Korean War veteran and a retired farmer. He had lived in the Monette/Leachville area his entire life. Golden is survived by two brothers. Golden was laid to rest at his funeral with military honors for his service. In a December 14, 2021, article by The Columbian, his nephew Mike Hembrey and niece Kristie Carmichael remembered their late uncle. “He was outgoing,” Mike said. “He’d be out in the yard playing with us. But don’t make him mad. When he was mad, he was mad.” Kristie remembered her uncle as the family member who loved cutting up and telling jokes. Jimmie reflected on his brother in a December 13, 2021, article by FOX13 Memphis. He saw him as a father figure, even more so after their father passed away. “He was Golden every time you saw him. He wasn’t no different. He wasn’t no high class or nothing but he liked to trade cars and lawnmowers.” Jimmie sought to keep his brother’s legacy alive by saving his war medals and sharing Golden’s life stories.

After five and a half more miles of uninterrupted fields, the twister swiped across far northern portions of Leachville. A handful of homes were battered, and a restaurant, cotton gin, and store were destroyed. That final structure listed was a Dollar General. Some of the building, including the metal frame, was ripped from one side of the foundation and pushed towards the other part.

What was left of a Dollar General in Leachville. Image from the NWS Memphis.
June Pennington

June Pennington, 52, was an assistant manager working in the Dollar General with another employee that evening when the storm hit. She died shielding her young co-worker while the two were hunkering down in a bathroom in the back of the store. Members of the Leachville community expressed their grief over the loss of June.

In a December 19, 2021, article by THV11, Sue Scott stated, “our little town is just gone, but it can be rebuilt, but the life we lost in Dollar General cannot. My heart just breaks for her family because she was a part of our daily life, because that’s the only store we had in this town.”

Per her obituary, June is survived by her three sons, daughter, mother, three brothers, sister, and eleven grandchildren. In a December 14, 2021, article by The Columbian, her daughter Christie Pennington said, “she didn’t love anything as much in life as her kids and grandkids. She was truly selfless and loved wholeheartedly.” June began raising her oldest son, David Bennefield, at just 14. He commented on his special bond with his mother. “She was a kid raising a kid. We were just like best friends. It’s crazy how close you become.” June’s love reached no bounds and was not just limited to her children. Her love for animals was no secret to her children. Her daughter Christie said June adopted numerous animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, turtles, and a ferret. “If there was ever an animal in need of a home, we took it in.”

A few properties near the Missouri/Arkansas state line were totaled, and sporadic trees severely debarked, but otherwise, there was little to be lashed by the now mile-wide tornado. Across a 30-mile stretch of track through Dunkin and Pemiscot Counties, MO, less than a half dozen residences may have been directly hit. Two of these, however, were obliterated from their foundations about two miles east of Braggadocio.

A home east of Braggadocio that was obliterated. Annistyn Rackley lost her life here. Image from the NWS Memphis.

In one of the two homes was the Rackley family of Trey, Meghan, and daughters, Annistyn, 9, Ava, 7, and Lani, 3. They had ushered themselves into the windowless bathroom known as their safe space to take shelter during the storms. The three sisters posed smiling for a picture as they hunkered down in the bathtub, not realizing what would happen just 15 minutes later. In a December 14, 2021, article by ABC24 Memphis, Trey described the events that took place on the night of December 10th. “There was a lot of loud, loud noises and banging.”

Annistyn Rackley

The tornado then arrived with great force. “I don’t know if I was flying but to me it felt more like I was getting dragged,” Trey said. As the home the Rackleys had just moved into less than a week earlier was being leveled, Trey was holding onto Lani for dear life, fearing the worst. Amidst their horrific encounter, Ava remembered praying to Jesus for Him to take care of her. “I felt like I was losing the grip on her and I let my phone go and I grabbed her and pulled her back in, and next thing I know we were dropped in a field,” Trey said. Trey and Lani escaped major injury. However, his wife Meghan, a kindergarten teacher in Caruthersville, was put into a coma with brain damage and several broken bones. Ava suffered a broken back. When first responders arrived, they were both taken to the hospital. Sadly, the oldest daughter, Annistyn, did not survive.

From right to left: Avalinn, Lani, and Annistyn huddled in the bathtub of their family home, moments before the tornado struck. Photo from

Per her obituary, Annistyn is survived by her parents, two sisters, three grandparents, two great-grandfathers, nine aunts and uncles, and close relatives and friends. She was described as a miracle. Annistyn had been diagnosed with biliary atresia as a baby, which made it hard for her to fight off illness and meant she would have likely needed a liver transplant before adulthood. But she would not be held back. Annistyn lived her life to the fullest. “In spite of everything, she was just always so brave; just you would never know. She was always smiling. She loved life and loved people,” Sandra Hooker, Annistyn’s great aunt, told ABC24 Memphis. She recounted getting closer to Annistyn as she grew up, even offering her support during her trips to the doctor. Annistyn loved swimming, dancing, cheerleading competitions, and traveling with her family. She enjoyed making videos on TikTok, sharing her new dance moves, and doing cartwheels with her great-aunt Sandra.

Per a December 13, 2021 article by KAIT/Gray News, a friend of Meghan, Manid Alexander, mourned. “The loss, it is exponential. There are no words.” The community of nearby Caruthersville held a memorial service the following Sunday. “Annistyn was bubbly,” Alexander said. “She was the best kid. She was the strongest kid.”

Two and a half miles after hitting the Rackleys, the tornado lashed over Interstate 55 south of Hayti. A couple of semi-trucks and trailers were blown off the interstate, leading to one fatality.

George Martin

The truck driver was 60-year-old George Martin. According to a December 21, 2021, article by, George had initially been taken to a hospital in Cape Girardeau, MO, to receive treatment for his severe injuries. He was released and returned to his home in Sigel, IL. However, ten days after his encounter with the tornado, George suffered a fatal “medical emergency” due to his injuries.

From his obituary, George previously provided service in the U.S. Navy and had recently worked as a truck driver for Dart Express. Additionally, he had served as a minister and missionary for his church. George is survived by his wife, mother, three children, eight grandchildren, three sisters, and mother-in-law.

Approximately three miles to the northeast, the tornado crossed State Highway 84 near Caruthersville. Marc Travis, 28, and Christina Sampley, 34, were traveling through the area when they struck a utility pole downed across the road by the twister. Marc and Christina were injured when the vehicle overturned, with at least Marc being ejected. They were transported to nearby Pemiscot County Memorial Hospital, where Marc was pronounced dead.

Marc Travis. Photo from Marc Travis’ Facebook.

According to his page on Find a Grave, “Marc was a loving son, grandson and brother. He enjoyed camping, fishing and spending time with family and friends.” He is survived by his parents, two grandparents, a brother and sister, two uncles, three aunts, a great uncle, a special friend, four children, and numerous additional friends and relatives who loved Marc dearly.

Three miles were spent on the Mississippi River before the twister made landfall in Lake County, TN, officially becoming a tri-state tornado. Dramatic cycloidal markings were created by strewn stubble in fields from suction vortices within the funnel. Once again, the tornado skirted most properties for nine miles before it slammed into Cypress Point Resort on Reelfoot Lake, outside of Wynnburg and Tiptonville. The area was a scene of ruin, with most buildings destroyed. A convenience store was raked down to a concrete slab. All three of the two-story apartment structures had the top floor swept away, with one reduced to bruised interior walls at ground level.

A convenience store that was swept away at Cypress Point Resort. Image from the NWS Memphis.
Grayson Gunn
Steve Gunn Jr.
Jamie Hall

A party of eight from Tallahassee, FL, had traveled up to Reelfoot Lake for a duck hunting trip planned months in advance. They stayed at the Cypress Point Resort, located on the southern shore of the lake. Featured in this group were Steve Gunn, 50, his son Grayson Gunn, 12, and Steve’s brother-in-law Jamie Hall, 47. Before the hunters settled in for the night, they went out to eat dinner. Jamie Facetimed his son, Michael Gunn-Hall, to tell him how much fun they were having in Tennessee. He expressed how excited he was about their next planned hunting trip in South Carolina with his youngest son Jay. Jamie then joined Steve and Grayson at their hotel to get some sleep. The remaining members of the hunting party decided to watch the storms roll in at the resort’s clubhouse nearby.

According to a December 15, 2021, article by, notifications on their cell phones suddenly alerted the group of the pending danger. When the tornado arrived, people at the clubhouse took shelter in a bathroom stall. Parents shielded the bodies of the children as the twister ripped at everything around them. When the winds subsided, the stall was the only thing left standing.

Back at the resort hotel, the upstairs floor where Steve, Grayson, and Jamie were sleeping was gone. The father and son were found the next day amongst the rubble of the building they were in, with Jamie nowhere to be found.

The remaining members of the hunting party, horrified by what took place, began the long, painful search for Jamie. Upon hearing the news, his son, Michael, and his wife drove 13 hours to the resort to join the search. Friends, family, law enforcement, and volunteers were desperate and hopeful of finding Jamie still alive. At the same time, Jamie’s daughter, Ashleigh, frantically began spreading awareness of her missing father on social media, begging for help. Four days into the search, only turned up a signature black and brown croc Jamie was wearing the night of his disappearance. “And now, it’s been day four, and I’ve just lost so much hope,” Ashleigh mourned in a December 13, 2021, article by People. Jamie’s wife, Nina, expressed on Facebook that she couldn’t lose hope, believing that her husband was still alive, would be found and would return home.

After six days of the search party working tirelessly, Michael had gone home just before the sun went down when he received the call. “We found him,” a sheriff’s deputy told him. Law enforcement found Jamie’s body in Reelfoot Lake near the resort.

Loved ones remember Steve, Grayson, and Jamie as “just big-hearted, southern, country people; giving people who would give you the shirt off their back,” described a family friend, Tyler Lee. Sandy remembered her brother Steve as a hard-working man who could do anything with his hands and never turned away an opportunity to help a friend. In a December 17, 2021, article by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sandy said he “could build a house out of a matchbox.” Sandy continued, “He’s totally a self-made man. We grew up so poor.” Friends remember Steve as a jokester who knew everyone. As a family man, loved ones recalled that Steve couldn’t help but to brag and express how proud he was of his children, who he adored so much. The Gunn’s adopted Grayson as a baby and were teaching him how to be a man. “He was such a respectful kid,” Sandy said. Steve influenced his son to outwork adult men and to have a strong work ethic. They would go fishing and play baseball together as both father and son and as best friends. The Gunn family is survived by Steve’s wife, daughter, and granddaughter, born a month before his death, whom he was ready to meet.

In a December 17, 2021, article by the Tallahassee Democrat, Michael described his father. “He was the greatest man I’ve ever known,” Michael said before clearing his throat. “He taught us to be a lion to everyone else and a lamb to your family and to always put God first.” Ashleigh described her father as always having a smile on his face, bringing cheer and laughter into the room. Jamie had been working as a mortgage loan officer at Prime Meridian Bank, coached high school football and track and field, and was a prayer and worship leader at his church. Jamie is survived by his wife and five children.

Ahead of the funeral, the family said they were having trouble finding a venue that could hold the expected number of attendees because so many people respected their three loved ones.

The vortex churned for two and a half miles on the surface of Reelfoot Lake as a waterspout. It made landfall again on the Obion County shoreline, right into the community of Samburg. Scores of structures were affected by the strong winds. Site-built houses lost some or all of their roofs, and manufactured homes and RVs were torn apart. Many of these were at a camper lot along Lake Drive. It was in this area that a man was killed.

Danny Inman Sr., 72, passed away when the tornado swept away his home. Per his obituary, he worked as a paint foreman at General Motors before retiring. Danny’s loved ones remember him as a great friend and co-worker and for his kindness and generosity. Danny is survived by two sons, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and a sister.

Similar destruction was incurred in the heart of Samburg. Besides further housing loss, government buildings like the fire and police departments, and businesses such as Griffins Fish Market, were all considered irreparable.

The tornado weakened amongst rural forested areas north and east of town. The one hour and 29 minute, 81.17-mile track ended at 8:36 pm CST around 2.6 miles northeast of Samburg. In total, eight people were killed, and at least $13.5 million in losses were recorded. While only 14 injuries were officially noted, the actual number is likely higher as the figure on the Tennessee side was unknown and not documented.

Tornado 2: Defiance, MO EF3

A before and after view from the NWS St. Louis of damage near Defiance. The house at bottom left was that of Ollie Borgmann.

At 7:35 pm CST, an EF3 tornado with estimated winds of up to 165 mph ripped a 25-mile long, 150-yard wide path through parts of St. Charles and St. Louis Counties in eastern Missouri. It began about 2.3 miles NNW of Augusta, where a barn was destroyed. The twister reached peak intensity about 2.5 miles WNW of Defiance, where two older homes were swept completely away. Sadly, one person was killed, and two were injured in one of those homes.

Ollie Borgmann. Photo from The Boone Country Connection.

Ollie Borgmann, 84, was home with her husband, Vernon. In a December 11, 2021, article by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Vernon was on the phone with his other son, Keith, when the line went dead. The next thing Vernon remembers is waking up in a field surrounded by debris.” Ollie was found injured but awake before being transported to the hospital. Vernon survived with scratches and bruises, while Ollie later died from her injuries at the hospital.

Per her obituary, Ollie is survived by her husband, three sons, three brothers, two sisters, a sister-in-law, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Ollie loved to travel throughout her long, fruitful life. She adored her large extended family and will be sorely missed by them.

The twister generally continued east-northeast, passing just north of Defiance, damaging or destroying several more residences. It traversed Howell Island, crossed the Missouri River into St. Louis County, and moved between the Spirit of St. Louis Airport and the National Weather Service (NWS) office. The damage along this part of the path was limited to snapped or uprooted trees. The tornado moved back over the Missouri River into St. Charles County, where it downed trees and power poles as it skirted past the southern edge of St. Peters. It meandered across the river into St. Louis County for a final time and dissipated 3.6 miles northwest of Maryland Heights.

Tornado 3: Virginia, IL EF2

Damage to a farm near Virginia. Image from the NWS Lincoln.

At 7:47 pm CST, an EF2 tornado began four miles southwest of Virginia, IL, in Cass County. It moved northeast for 12.8 miles and was up to 200 yards wide. Several buildings, including a home, were damaged at a farm on Parler Road. A horse was killed in one of the collapsed barns. Elsewhere along the path, numerous trees and power poles were downed.

Tornado 4: Atterberry, IL EF2

Farm damage near Atterberry. Image from the NWS Lincoln.

At 8:07 pm CST, an EF2 tornado formed just a half-mile northeast of Atterberry, IL. It traveled 4.6 miles and was up to 250 yards wide. Several farm buildings were ripped apart, and a house suffered minor damage.

Tornado 5: Augusta, AR EF2

A destroyed house near Augusta. Image from the NWS Little Rock.

At 8:13 pm CST, a high-end EF2 tornado with 135 mph winds tracked for 10.5 miles across the northern part of Augusta, AR, to just south of Tupelo. Several homes were shredded on the north edge of Augusta. The twister was up to 500 yards wide, and three people were injured.

Tornado 6: Edwardsville, IL EF3

The Amazon warehouse where six people lost their lives. Image from the NWS St. Louis.

At 8:27 pm CST, an EF3 tornado with winds speeds up to 150 mph began three-quarters of a mile west of the I-270/I-255 interchange. It crossed I-255 and then plowed into an Amazon Warehouse. The southern half of the structure filled with workers was leveled. Half of the structure’s 1.1 million square foot roof was peeled away. The western walls, which were 40 feet tall and 11 inches thick, fell inward, while the eastern walls were pulled away from the structure. Six people inside were killed, and an unknown number of others were injured. Vehicles parked outside were tossed about.

A concerned mother, Carla Cope, called her son, Clay, 29, to warn him of the approaching storm. She told him to let the other employees know as well and to stay safe. That would be the last time she would speak with her son. According to his family, Clay helped others at the facility seek shelter before the tornado arrived, killing him.

Clayton Cope

Carla told FOX-2 KTVI (St. Louis) in a December 14, 2021 article, “Clay died trying to save his coworkers-he thought of them over himself. That was the kind of person that he was, and I hope that’s how he will always be remembered.”

Clay had been working at the Amazon warehouse for over a year as a maintenance mechanic. Before his employment at Amazon, he followed several men in his family’s shoes by serving in the U.S. Navy on the USS Eisenhower, where he became a calibration specialist on aircraft carriers. Additionally, Clay received awards and decorations for his service, including the national defense service medal and the global war of terrorism expeditionary medal.

“He loved to hang out with his friends. He was big-hearted; he would do anything for anybody.” Carla said in a December 15, 2021, article by Clay’s sister, Rachel, recalled growing up with her big brother to the O’Fallon Progress in a December 23, 2021 article. They “would stay up late playing video games, with one of them watching out for their parents so they wouldn’t get caught. They shared a lot of nerdy interests, and kept playing games online together as adults.” Per his obituary, Clay is survived by his parents and two sisters.

Kevin Dickey

According to a December 20, 2021, article by CNBC, Gary Quigley noticed the weather was becoming inclement. Around 7:30 pm CST, he called his dispatcher, Kevin Dickey, 62, who oversaw drivers at his delivery company. After discussion, both decided to head back to the Amazon facility to clock out for the evening.

“He asked me if it was getting bad out there,” Gary recalled. “Then he told me to go ahead and get home safe and that he’d see me tomorrow.” This was the last time Gary ever spoke with him, as the tornado soon would claim Kevin’s life while he tried to get people to safety.

Per his obituary, Kevin was employed by the Amazon Distribution Center in Edwardsville as a driver supervisor. In a December 23, 2021, article by O’Fallon Progress, his family said, “Dad talked often about his co-workers and their daily stories, he had a great bond with many.” He was a proud father and grandfather who enjoyed sports, going to church, and, most of all, spending time with his family. In a December 14, 2021, article by The Columbian, loved ones said Kevin “stole the show and the hearts of his grandchildren anytime he was around.” Kevin is survived by his mother, five children, four siblings, six grandchildren, several aunts and uncles, extended family, and friends.

After a long day of delivering packages for Amazon, Etheria Hebb, 34, ended up back at the main facility, where she was loading trucks. As the weather increasingly became more concerning, she and another co-worker soon realized shelter was necessary. In a December 20, 2021, article by CNBC, another Amazon worker described her ordeal when the tornado hit. 

Etheria Hebb

After seeking refuge in the bathroom, she and another colleague ended up trapped under debris. Her colleague was Etheria, who tragically died when the collapse of the Amazon warehouse pinned her under the twisted remains of the facility.

Before working as a contractor for Amazon, Etheria prepared meals for patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in nearby St. Louis, MO. She was loved by many friends, family, and co-workers. In a December 23, 2021, article by O’Fallon Progress, her family said she was always dancing, smiling, and full of joy. “[Etheria was] a naturally beautiful person from the heart all the way to her radiant outer beauty.” Above all, she poured her loving soul into her baby boy. “She was a new and dedicated mother,” her cousin Corece Smith said. Another one of Etheria’s cousins wrote, “You had so much life and love in you. You wore it like a halo; you were definitely one of God’s angels. I love you.” Among a multitude of loved ones, Etheria is survived by her 1-year-old son.

Austin McEwen

Amongst those who sought shelter in the bathroom of the Amazon warehouse was Austin McEwen, 26. He died when the facility collapsed onto him. Austin was employed by Amazon as an independent contractor. In a December 15, 2021, article by, he was described as “a beautiful soul, loved by all who met him.” 

Aside from his passions in baseball, hockey, and hunting, he loved traveling with his girlfriend of five years, as they were planning on becoming a family with her two children. Per his obituary, Austin is survived by his parents, the love of his life, and her two sons, his grandfather, many cousins, three aunts, friends that were like family, and three beloved canines.

DeAndre Morrow, 28, was one of the six employees killed at the Amazon warehouse when the tornado struck. Art, music, fashion, and his up-and-coming brand spearheaded his passions. He was a hard worker who saved money to give back to his community, destined to make a lasting positive mark. “He was not only a son, a brother, a fiancé, a nephew, cousin, and friend,” his fiancé Chelsea said in a December 23, 2021, article by O’Fallon Progress.

DeAndre Morrow

“He wanted his brand Capitalize And Prosper LLC to touch the world with his many plans to start laundry mats, car washes, grocery stores, build housing for low-income families, etc….” His brother TreMon Crawford mourned, emphasizing that DeAndre deserved the chance to fulfill his vision. “He wanted so much,” Crawford said. “He wanted to do so much and now that he can’t, I just feel like it’s my responsibility to share his life, his gift, his ambitions.” But now DeAndre’s family and friends are left to grieve, with the hope of spreading his loving legacy. “If I had known that we really didn’t have that much time left together brother, I would have pressed the issue more for us to get together as a family. Your name and your legacy will forever live on. Forever long live my brother, DeAndre Shaun Morrow,” his best friend JaCarlos Turmon said in a December 22, 2021, by

Per DeAndre’s Find a Grave page, he is survived by his parents, fiancé, three brothers, four sisters, and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and additional relatives and friends.

Larry Virden

Craig Yost and Larry Virden were huddled in a bathroom of the Amazon warehouse after being told to seek shelter as severe storms approached their facility. Larry had been texting his fiancé, Cherie Jones, about the situation. He said that Amazon would not let him go home until the storms passed. This would be the last time Cherie would hear from him.

As they sat there anxious in the moment, Craig and Larry talked about the joys they experienced while delivering packages for Amazon. It made them happy “when they’d see dogs on their delivery routes,” said co-worker Ashley Deckard in a December 20, 2021, article by CNBC.

Their friendly chatter was suddenly interrupted when the lights began to flicker. Then the tornado hit, killing Larry and five other co-workers. Larry was 46 years old. Craig sustained serious injuries.

In a December 12, 2021, article by the New York Post, Cherie was heartbroken. “My oldest boy, he thinks that Daddy is going to come home, but now we have to tell him that Daddy’s not coming home. When my daughter came into the house, she was like, ‘Where’s Daddy? Where’s Daddy?’ And she started bawling because she knew something was wrong.”

Per his obituary, Larry is survived by his mother, fiancé, seven children, and grandchild. He was a U.S. Army veteran who served for seven years, including in Iraq. “He had a missile blow up in front of him like 200 yards away, so he was lucky over there,” Cherie said. “When he was over there, he made his peace with the maker so he was prepared to die. But we didn’t want him to die now.” Larry had a love for outdoor activities, had a wonderful sense of humor, and was a friend to everyone. In a December 23, 2021, article by O’Fallon Progress, Cherie described, “Larry would give you the shirt off his back to help you unless you crossed him. He would help you with anything and everything. He loved to be outside. He loved his grandbaby. He was just a fun, loving guy.”

Further northeast, a mobile home was destroyed, and trees and powerlines were toppled until it dissipated 4.3 miles from where it began. Debris from the Amazon Warehouse was found 10 miles away.

Tornado 7: Cayce-Mayfield-Dawson Springs-Bremen-Central City, KY EF4

One of the most potent and devastating tornadoes in modern history formed at 8:54 pm CST, 1.2 miles WSW of Woodland Mills in Obion County, TN. A few shingles were pulled from a house, and trees were downed before it moved into Fulton County, KY. After crossing the state line, cycloidal markings became apparent from chaff windrowed in fields. They indicated the core of the vortex tightened and within miles became ferocious.

The National Weather Service noted that violent damage occurred in the community of Cayce, 7.5 miles after formation. Residences and the local fire department were reduced to rubble, and groves were flattened. A total of 21 mobile and site-built homes in Fulton County were completely demolished.

An aerial view of destruction in Cayce. Photo via FEMA/the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).

Wade Martin Lihl, 57, was killed in his mobile home along State Route 84 West. Per the family’s GoFundMe page, his wife Holly was also at the residence and was hospitalized with injuries. Per an article for The Courier-Journal on December 14, 2021, Holly described her husband as “a wonderful, compassionate man and a hard worker who never missed a day. He was always taking care of me. Life will be hard without him.” Per Wade’s obituary, he worked as a laser operator at MTD Products in Martin, TN. He is survived by his wife, a sister, and several nieces and nephews.

Wade Lihl

Just past Cayce, tattered sheet metal and plots of dirt were all that remained of six chicken houses. The vortex continued north of Crutchfield into southern Hickman County. Dramatic cycloidal marks from subvortices and a few instances of moderate ground gouging moved northeast across Highway 51. In the nine miles spent before crossing into western Graves County, a dozen sporadic properties were totaled.

An aerial view of six chicken houses that were eradicated by the tornado northeast of Cayce. Image via FEMA/CAP.

The seven-mile stretch from the county border to crossing Interstate 69 was no different. The size and strength varied, but any weakening was only temporary.

According to the website Amish America, the state of Kentucky has the 8th largest Amish population in North America. An extremely conservative group, The Swartzentruber Amish, live in an area about 10 miles southwest of Mayfield. Per Amish America, “Swartzentruber Amish use more limited technology, dress more plainly, and typically have a lower standard of living than more progressive Amish.”

Jacob, Emma Gingerich, and their five children lived just west of Highway 339. According to a December 13, 2021 Washington Post article, “Their house was a stripped-down double-wide trailer — no electricity, no running water, no indoor bathroom, in accordance with their Amish belief that one should live life as simply as possible.” Jacob moved to the area in 2020. Per Daniel Yoder, who worked for Gingerich at his sawmill, “He worked hard and was an honest man. He would not take a dollar from you. He used everybody fair.”

Per The Washington Post article, on the night of December 10, Chris Crawford, a neighbor, walked over to the family’s home to warn them of the impending storms. Thirty minutes later, he heard a baby crying. “Crawford put on a headlamp and jumped into his ATV to check on them. He saw pieces of his barn’s aluminum roof scattered like torn tissue paper in the trees. When he reached his neighbor’s home, it had disappeared.”

Chris saw Ammon, 8, standing there, dazed and crying. He found little Sarah, 3, alive under part of the wreckage. A screaming baby could still be heard. Chris followed the sound and discovered little Ben lying on the ground in his diaper. The bodies of Jacob and Emma, both 31, along with Marilyn, 7, and Daniel, 4, were found several hours after the tornado.

Ronnie Dale Murphy, owner of the lumber company next to the Gingerich trailer, was interviewed by The Washington Post. He commented how much he loved the family. “They were such good medicine.” He told the paper that Jacob was discovered under the frame of the trailer. It had flipped upside down and moved 20 yards through the air before landing. Marilyn and Daniel were near one another, next to a pile of logs. Rescuers located Emma in an area where Chris Crawford had scooped up baby Ben. Nearby was a red blanket. “Rescuers said they think Emma had been holding Ben in her arms, wrapped in that blanket when the storm hit.”

The Monday after the tornado, Ronnie and his co-workers were looking to salvage any items they could from the mound of debris. “They found the children’s birth certificates and Jacob’s wallet. Two of his horse carriages were mangled and crushed. A gun safe lay on its side, burst open.” Relatives from five states gathered to honor the lives of their lost family. It was reported that the three surviving children had bruises but otherwise were okay. They would be adopted by other family members.

Starting 3.5 miles SW of Mayfield, the path of the ever more dangerous tornado encountered increasing numbers of homes along Pritchett and then Cardinal Road. Multiple site-built houses were swept utterly clean from their foundations, with surrounding groves broken down and partially debarked. Eight fatalities occurred in this area.

A labeled view of the fatalities across Mayfield. Maxar/Google Earth satellite imagery taken December 11, 2021.
Destruction southwest of Mayfield. Three fatalities occurred in residences on the left-hand side of the picture. Image via FEMA/CAP.
Kathy Greem

Kathy Greem, 77, died at her residence off Pritchett Road. Per a December 14, 2021 article in The Courier-Journal, she was described as “a caring friend who put others before herself.” Kathy is survived by her husband, daughter, three brothers and two sisters, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Pam Gilbert, Derek Gilbert, Jamey Waggoner. Photo via WKRN.

Jamey Waggoner, 66, and her sister Pam Gilbert, 60, lived in a trailer together on land that had belonged to their family for years. They were at their home along with Pam’s son Derek, 44. All three were killed. Jamey’s granddaughter (and Derek’s cousin), Kiah Cooper, was interviewed by WKRN for a story on December 15, 2021. “That Saturday they found my cousin. His body was thrown out in the land.” The family’s GoFundMe page stated that Derek’s son, Draven was there when his father’s body was recovered. Draven worked at the candle factory that was crumpled by the tornado.

“We got a phone call saying that my nana and my aunt were found, and they were trapped underneath the trailer, and once they pulled that trailer up and lifted it. They were in a hole together. They did not make it,” Kiah said. “I don’t know if one watched the other suffer, I don’t know if they went together, I pray and tell myself to stay positive on that, that they went together.”

Derek is survived by two sons, one daughter, and five grandchildren. Pam is survived by a sister, two grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Jamey is survived by one daughter, a sister, and three grandchildren.

Robert Baldree, 87, was at his house off Cardinal Road. He was home alone as his wife Jean was in a hospital and not in the storm’s path. The tornado slammed their neighborhood, and Robert was swept into the driveway.

Robert Baldree

Per a December 13, 2021, article on, Jeania Huckstep of Batavia, NY, daughter of Robert and Jean, was interviewed. She found out about her father’s passing from family members. “It was horrific,” said Jeania. “And then you’re finding out more details – like I didn’t know about the lady finding him in the driveway, she stayed with him for two hours before they got the ambulance. And then you’re just seeing that in your mind. And the worst time is when you’re trying to go to sleep at night when there’s nothing else going on except you’re praying.” Per Robert’s obituary, he was pronounced dead at Jackson Purchase Medical Center on Saturday, December 11, 2021, at 12:47 am CST.

Robert had worked as a Pipefitter Engineer. He was survived by his wife, two daughters, a son, three sisters, and four grandchildren. His sister Judy Waggoner was quoted in a December 14, 2021, article of The Courier-Journal. “He would help anyone that needed it. He was a Christian and I know he is rejoicing in Heaven with his beloved family.”

Charles and Jessica Cook and their four boys, ages 2 to 10, were in their Cardinal Road home the night of the devastating tornado. Jessica was six months pregnant with their first girl, Anna Joy. The families’ story was relayed to the Paducah Sun by the Cook’s pastor Bob Waldridge, in an article on January 5, 2022.

The boys were in the tub in the family’s bathroom. Their mother was standing over them in a protective pose. Daniel, the oldest son, was holding his 2-year-old brother John’s hand. At first, Charles didn’t take the storm too seriously until he opened the front door and saw a lightning bolt strike the earth in front of him. Per the article, “He gets the front door shut and runs to the bathroom. As he’s running, he hears the house popping apart around him. He’s trying to get to them, and he’s no small man. He’s 6-6 and 400 pounds,” Waldridge said. Charles made his way to the bathroom, hit his head on the ceiling, and was knocked unconscious. The father eventually wakes up in a pile of debris.

“Daniel was awake the whole time holding his younger brother until the wind pulled them apart,” the pastor said. “All he can do is cry and apologize. He kept saying, ‘I couldn’t hold him. The wind picked us up and I couldn’t hold him.’”

Per the Paducah Sun, the home was lifted from the ground, hit a tree line about 100 yards from its original location, and was obliterated. The entire family was lying amidst the ruins. Daniel was the first to wake up. Pastor Waldridge shared what happened next. “Now this is a 10-year-old but he’s a good, good boy. He tells this story. He sees a man standing in the way and describes this man very detailed. He says what he’s wearing, how he looks. The man is pointing to a site, and he hears, ‘Help your mommy and daddy.’ He fixes his eyes on this man and he has to climb over rubble, because there’s no good way to get to them. He was relatively close (to them) in proximity. He gets to them, and the man is no longer there. He’s gone.” The pastor believes that it was an angel guiding Daniel. “I know we preachers sometimes tell stories enough times that they get bigger each time, that’s just our nature, but this story is so powerful. It humbled me so much and reminded me of how big God is.”

Daniel found his family buried. The young boy has broken ribs, a broken arm, and a fractured wrist. Despite his injuries, he walked several hundred yards to find help. The pastor shared that Charles had to be dug out with an excavator. He had not been wearing shoes, and his feet “were sandblasted with debris and cut to pieces.” Jessica had a broken pelvis. The youngest son had no broken bones, but the rest did.

Jessica and Daniel were flown to a Nashville hospital, while the rest of the family was treated closer to Mayfield. Jessica was placed in a medically induced coma, and Baby Anna was born via C-Section. She weighed two pounds and six ounces. At first, it appeared she was doing okay, but tragically she passed away on December 18 of heart failure. One day prior, Charles discovered he had lost his father. His death was not tornado-related.

Pastor Waldridge shared in the Paducah Sun article about the burial service for Baby Anna. He said Charles could barely walk. “He carried that baby’s casket from the hearse up the hill, about 50 to 75 yards, hobbling the whole way up. The strength God gave him was miraculous.”

Per the family’s GiveSendGo page, Charles finally saw Jessica, 33, on January 15. It was the first time since the tragedy on December 10. Jessica fought hard but succumbed to her injuries on February 7, 2022. She is survived by her husband, four sons, her parents, her maternal grandparents, a brother, and two sisters.

Bobby Spradling. Photo from The Courier-Journal.

Katrina Spradling pleaded with her father, Bobby, 50, to leave his home before the storms hit.

In an interview with The Courier-Journal from December 14, 2021, Katrina wanted him to come to her house because it was a sturdier shelter. “None of us can understand exactly why he didn’t leave,” Katrina said. “He was always real cautious with storms. For some reason, he was stubborn and decided he was going to wait to see how bad it got.”

Bobby lived across the street from the candle factory and only 10 minutes from his daughter. Per another news article at, “the authorities told his family that based on where they found his body, they believed he had tried to leave his home and get to shelter when it was too late.”

Bobby was a self-employed carpet layer. He is survived by a son, a daughter, two brothers, several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Katrina said the following about her dad to The Courier-Journal, “He had a hell of a sense of humor. If he wasn’t trying to help someone, he was trying to make someone laugh.”

In a moment, every large industrial business north of the corner of Highways 45 and 80 was enveloped and destroyed by the tornado. None of them, however, were as ruinous as Mayfield Consumer Products (also known as the candle factory). It took – at most – seconds for this large facility to become literally unrecognizable. Crushed steel debris was piled up to 20 feet high, with one van dropped on top of the mess and other surrounding vehicles mangled and blown great distances. Unfortunately, the candle factory had not been vacated prior to the twister and was filled with employees, nine of which did not survive.

The candle factory where nine employees lost their lives. Note the van near center left on top of the rubble, and the large number of heavy vehicles attempting to remove rubble during rescue/recovery.

Devin Burton, 21, had been working at the candle factory for just a few months. Tragically, he was one of the nine killed in the collapsed building. Devin’s body was buried deep in the rubble and was retrieved two days after the tornado hit the factory. 

Devin Burton

Denise Cunningham, Devin’s mom, wrote the following on her son’s tribute wall on the website of his obituary, “My favorite memory of you is having you for my son for 21 years. Losing you is the hardest thing I’ve been through. I miss you so much. I will always fight for you baby and I will continue to keep your memory alive. I don’t know how I’m gonna live in this world without you but I will see you again. I love you son with all I am. Xoxo.” Devin is survived by his parents, two brothers, grandfather, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

Jeff Creason

Jeff Creason, 57, was also at the candle factory the night of the tornado. Per his obituary, he worked at Uarco in Fulton before his job here. He loved sports, especially golf and Kentucky Wildcats basketball. A friend who started a GoFundMe for the family described Jeff as “an awesome person and he was quick to always extend a kind word or helpful hand.” Jeff is survived by his son and daughter, a sister and brother, two grandchildren, several nephews, and a niece.

Robert Daniel, 47, was a Graves County, KY Deputy Jailer. He had just started working with seven detainees in a work-release program at the candle factory.

Robert Daniel

Per an article in The Washington Post on December 13, 2021, Robert had called his younger brother only a few days before the tornado to tell him about the position. “He was super excited about it,” said younger brother Alonzo Daniel. “He was happy to be able to get the inmates out and work their shift.”

George Worman, Graves County jailer, was interviewed by the Washington Post and The Courier-Journal. Details of what happened at the candle factory to Robert and the inmates came from those sources. “The last thing he did was making sure [the inmates] were taken care of, even at his own peril,” Workman told The Washington Post. Per The Courier-Journal, the men in the work-release program told Workman that Robert “literally pushed them all to safety, guiding them through a doorway and against a wall in an interior part of the plant. Workman said the last inmate through the door told deputies that Daniel was behind him one moment, and suddenly he was gone.” All seven inmates were rescued from the rubble. Two of them had broken legs. It was noted by several on the disaster scene that all of the inmates stayed to help find other victims.

Funeral services for Robert Daniel occurred on December 18, 2021. Per an article in Yahoo News on December 20, the funeral home was “filled to the brim,” with many in the community coming out to honor Robert’s life. He was buried wearing his Graves County jailer uniform with a pair of Los Angeles Rams (his favorite NFL team) gloves in his casket. More than a dozen jail staffers were in attendance, along with many incarcerated men. “At Oak Rest Cemetery, Daniel was honored with a three-volley salute, and a bagpipes player offered a rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home” as the casket was unloaded in a cold December wind. Graves County put out an end-of-watch call over a loudspeaker.” The sheriff’s department also posthumously honored Robert with a Lifesaving Award.

Robert Daniel is survived by his father, four daughters, three sons, a sister, and brother, and seven grandchildren.

Elijah Lewis. Photo from The Courier-Journal.

Elijah Blaze Lewis, 35, was a security guard at the candle factory. He died of his injuries at Vanderbilt Medical Center five days after the tornado. He is survived by his parents, two sisters, and several nieces and nephews.

Iván Ramírez López, 51, a native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, lost his life at the candle factory. We found a short interview with Iván’s mother on Facebook from Wilmarie Mena Santiago with TeleOnce TV. She said her son’s death leaves a void in her heart.

Iván Ramírez López. Photo from Univision Noticias.
Jill Monroe

Jill Monroe, 52, had worked at the candle factory for just a few months. She started her shift at 7:00 pm that fateful Friday evening. At 9:27 pm, she texted her sister Heather that she was sheltering in the bathroom with several co-workers. Jill also texted her son Chris. “It’s here. It’s bad and I’m scared.” The text messages continued a little while longer but suddenly ended.

Chris was interviewed by WLKY for a story on December 15, 2021 and The Lexington Herald-Leader on December 12, 2021. The following details are from both sources. Chris said he called his mother 43 times throughout the night, but there was no answer. He and his wife Paige left their Oldham County home the morning after the tornado and drove to Mayfield to the site of the candle factory. The expanse of devastation was overwhelming. The couple ran over to Matt Carter, McCracken County Sheriff’s Deputy, and showed them a picture of Jill. They asked him and anyone within the sound of their voices if they had seen her. No one had. “Are you still hearing voices?” Paige asked. At times, rescue workers could find people amid the rubble by hearing their calls for help. “Ma’am, we’ve been out here all night. No, not lately,” Carter said.

Chris and Paige were directed to a nearby church, His House Ministries. Volunteers supplied food, and emergency officials met families looking for their loved ones. “Law enforcement collected personal information about the missing, including the last correspondence they had with relatives, and whether they had any distinguishable markings, such as tattoos, that police can use for identification.” The pair waited until sunset, almost 24 hours after the tornado, and still no word on Jill.

Crews worked through the night in sub-freezing temperatures looking for any survivors. On Sunday morning, Chris learned that his mother did not survive. In the WLKY interview, Chris said he was able to connect with one of his mom’s co-workers/friends. He learned from her that Jill had spent the last moments of her life helping others. “She said, ‘the last time I saw your mom, she ran into the last stall and took a bunch of people in there with her and we all laid down and tried to hold on,’ and she said that’s the last time I saw her.”

Jill is survived by several family members, including her husband, Eddie, and her son Chris. Per her obituary, “nothing was more important to her than being ‘Mimi’ to her grandkids; Bryslyn, Braxton and Kaysen.”

Kayla Smith

According to an article in The Washington Post on December 16, 2021, everyone who worked with Kayla Smith, 30, considered her a friend, best friend, or practically a sister. She was employed in the quality control department.

Michelle Hand was a former co-worker with Kayla, and they quickly became friends. She heard about the destruction at the candle factory and rushed to the scene to look for Kayla. When she arrived, Michelle said volunteers were using boards to help bring out survivors and the dead from the wreckage. She heard someone call out behind her that another victim needed CPR and saw a paramedic starting chest compressions on Kayla. Per the Washington Post, “I just held her hand and begged her to hold on, and begged God not to take her,” Michelle said. “I said, ‘Babe, I got you, I’m here, please, please.’” Sadly, Kayla passed away, but she did not die alone. She was holding the hand of a friend.

Kayla is survived by her parents and fiancé Justin Bobbett. Justin was a supervisor at the candle factory and was also working the night of the tornado. He sustained minor injuries. Kayla also had a brother, sister, niece, and nephew.

Joe Marshall Ward, 36, was described by his girlfriend, Autumn Kirks, as “a big teddy bear.” Joe was a line leader at the candle factory. His girlfriend also worked there. They were both at the facility the night of the tornado, working for extra money to buy a house.

Joe Ward

Per an article at on December 13, 2021, Autumn recalled moving to a hallway in the inner part of the building that housed Mayfield Consumer Products. “They said, ‘Duck and cover,’ ″ she remembered. “I pulled my safety goggles down, jumped under the closest thing, and seconds later, I looked to my left, and instead of wall there was sky and lightning and just destruction everywhere.”

Autumn was a team leader and was in charge of making sure her co-workers were safe. She tried to keep Joe in her sights. “I remember taking my eyes off of him for a second, and then he was gone,” she said. Autumn and three co-workers were buried under a concrete wall. An unknown person lifted it off of them. “I still wish I knew who it was that lifted that wall off of us,” she said. “He was our superman that night.”

The worried girlfriend waited almost 48 hours before hearing the tragic news about Joe. He left behind five sons, two daughters, and his mother and brother.

Janine Williams

Ivy Williams received a phone call from his wife, Janine warning him that a bad storm was heading in. That would be his last call with his loving bride of seven years. Janine, 50, was working through her shift at the candle factory when the tornado struck.

Ivy rushed to the factory Friday night to look for his wife. Per a Washington Post article on December 11, 2021, “‘I won’t go home without her,’ Williams said Saturday, crying as he spoke while sitting on a bench outside His House Ministries counseling center where families were being interviewed and seeking information.” Two days after the disaster, he finally received word from the Graves County coroner’s office that they had identified the body of Janine, his soulmate.

She is survived by her husband, Ivy; three daughters, one son, 17 grandchildren, a brother and sister, one uncle and several nieces and nephews.

Businesses and grain silos were wrecked along Highway 45. Beyond them, a neighborhood, Mayfield-Graves County Rescue, and the town’s water tower were smashed.

One of the first homes struck in Mayfield proper was on Beech Street. Ollie Bright Reeves, 80, lost her life when the tornado roared through. Per an article at on December 24, 2021, Thomas Bright, Ollie’s nephew, found her body.

Ollie Reeves

“After groping in the dark past debris, fallen trees, and downed power lines, hoping to discover her alive, he found her body in the yard of her Mayfield home, which the twister had wrenched away from its foundation.” Thomas is a steward at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church. He said his aunt was a faithful member of the congregation. She sang in the choir, baked pies and cakes, and helped with fundraisers.

Ollie retired from West KY Allied Service and was a former Curlee and Mayfield Manufacturing employee. She is survived by two sisters, several nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends.

At 9:29 pm CST, the maelstrom descended upon downtown Mayfield. What was left in its wake was the worst tornadic demolition of a major business area since the May 22, 2011, Joplin, MO EF5. Scores of large, heavy brick-built structures – many of which were several stories – crumbled beneath the onslaught of wind and debris. Centuries-old churches, longstanding businesses, and essentially all public facilities were wiped out in seconds.

Complete devastation across downtown Mayfield. Image via FEMA/CAP.

Rosa “June” Sanders, 60, died when the tornado hit her home at Eloise Fuller Apartments. “She was one of the sweetest people I met at Eloise Fuller,” said her friend Jean Robart to The Courier-Journal in a December 14, 2021 article.

Several blocks of dense residential areas in northeastern Mayfield were similarly blown apart. The devastation was more random here, with intact homes next to others that had become piles of rubble.

Huda Alubahi told CBS Mornings on December 15, 2021, that her son Jha’lil, 3, was “one of a kind.” She was in her home on North 5th Street with Jha’lil and her one-year-old son Julius. They were in the living room when she received the tornado warning. “I heard the alarm go off on my phone and the power went out and my three-year-old, he said, ‘mommy, I’m scared’. As soon as I heard kind of like train noises, I grabbed both of them and just jumped into the closet, in the bathroom. By that time, everything was just falling on top of us.”

Jha’lil Dunbar

The entire house collapsed, pinning Huda and her boys in the bathroom. What may have been the sink fell and landed on the side of her face and head. David Begnaud, with CBS Mornings, asked Huda where her babies were. She said one was under one arm, and one was under the other. “I never saw my 3-year-old because my face couldn’t turn that way, but I did see the baby and he cried and then he just stopped and so at that time I thought he was gone. But he wasn’t. I never heard my 3-year-old say anything.” Little Jha’lil died in the arms of his mother.

Per The Courier-Journal, in a December 14, 2021 article, Huda’s brother was also at the home. He was in the living room and was able to dig out of the damage. He heard the cries of Julius and was able to help pull him to safety. Julius didn’t have a scratch on him.

Huda told CBS Mornings that she didn’t know that her little boy had died until later that night. She found out from Jha’lil’s dad that their son was gone. “I wish I could have saved my son. But I couldn’t.”

Jha’lil attended Little Angels Child Care. Owner Marley Doran told WHAS for a December 15, 2021 article, “He was full of life, silly, very loving and loved to be cuddled. He brought the room to life.” Teacher McKayla Sumnick shared, “He didn’t have a best friend because everyone was his best friend, and I love that the most because he wanted to make sure to include everybody.”

Per his obituary, Jha’lil leaves to cherish his memories: his parents, three sisters, eight brothers, two grandfathers, one grandmother, and a host of aunts and uncles.

Three more neighborhoods over another 3.5 miles were slammed into before the vortex left the Mayfield region behind. The rest of Graves County saw very sporadic residences affected at a more variable intensity, but nothing like the chaos in Mayfield that has gone down in Kentucky history. In all, 24 people lost their lives in Graves County.

A destroyed neighborhood northeast of Mayfield Image via FEMA/CAP.

The twister spent 18 miles trekking across central Marshall County. The first 15 miles were similar to those spent after Mayfield; sporadic properties interspersed in woods and fields taking hits that ranged from shingles lost to farms demolished.

The vortex swung through Cambridge Shores, a collection of mostly vacation and luxury homes along the west side of Kentucky Lake. Entire stands of multi-story houses were razed to the ground, with some vehicles blown into the water. The last 1.8 miles to the county border were spent as a waterspout.

A neighborhood that was leveled in Cambridge Shores. Image via FEMA/CAP.

Caneilia “Neila” Mae Gaither, 78, died in her Cambridge Shores home. Per The Courier-Journal on December 14, 2021, she was in the hallway “where she and her late husband rode out storms for years together.” In an article for The Washington Post, neighbor Zane Leith reflected on Neila, someone he “had known since boyhood who later doted on his own young children with coloring books and snacks.”

“She just loved and thought they were the sweetest, best babies in the world,” Leith said.

Neila worked for the Marshall County Preschool Headstart Program and was a member of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church. She is survived by her daughter, a son, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Judith Davis, 83, died of what was likely a heart attack brought on by stress due to the tornado, per the Marshall County Coroner Michael Gordan. This is considered an indirect death.

Judith formerly co-owned Catfish Kitchen in Benton, KY. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, two nieces, several great-nieces and nephews, and a sister.

Judith Davis

An 8.4-mile-long scar of leveled forest soon bisected the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. Per the NWS survey narrative, there was “near complete tree destruction” across the Trace Highway. After 1.5 miles on Lake Barkley, the vortex moved back onshore well south-southeast of Eddyville. About 45 structures in this area were totally destroyed, a number of which were similar to the luxury homes at Cambridge Shores.

Homes destroyed south-southeast of Eddyville near Lake Barkley. Image via FEMA/CAP.
Evelyn Ratay. Photo from her obituary.

Evelyn Ratay, 98, was taken to the hospital after the tornado struck her Eddyville home. Sadly, she succumbed to her injuries. Per her obituary, Evelyn worked as a seamstress for several dress factories. “She enjoyed square dancing, was an avid bowler, and used to love fishing and being on the lake with her family. Her family loved being with her and enjoyed her happy attitude. She loved making quilts for her family and also made enough to donate to hospitals and those in need.” Evelyn is survived by her two daughters, a daughter-in-law, a sister, six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.

The tornado now traversed Caldwell County. Numerous homes in the region were shredded to rubble, with the worst being in a neighborhood next to the Princeton Golf and Country Club. Southeast of Princeton, the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center was wrenched apart as if by airstrikes.

At left, a shredded neighborhood next to the Princeton Golf and Country Club. At right, stubble strewn into cycloidal subvortex markings in a field south of Princeton. Images via FEMA/CAP.

For about six miles, the path paralleled Highway 62 in mostly rural but still inhabited areas. Any residences to its south were damaged or destroyed.

Larry Burdon, 73, lived in a two-story farm home that he built off Dawson Road just south of Highway 62. He resided there with his wife, Kathy, and their daughter and grandson. They were all at home the night of the tornado. Larry’s brother, Tim, was interviewed by WSMV on December 16, 2021 and shared the story of losing his older brother that fateful night.

Larry Burdon. Photo from The Courier-Journal.

He said that as the tornado approached, the doors blew in. Larry’s daughter tried to grab her son, “and she doesn’t remember anything after that other than waking up out in the yard.”

Kathy and Larry were found near their propane tank. The gas was pouring out into the air. “It was gagging them. The propane in the air was so thick and heavy and hovering over them,” said Tim. Neighbors ran to aid the couple, covering them with blankets. It took over three hours from when the initial 911 call was made until emergency responders could arrive due to debris on the roads. Tim believes his brother died sometime before help arrived. “The whole time, he was praying, he prayed out loud, they said they could hear him praying. And now that Kathy’s come to in the hospital and is talking to everybody, she said that it was the most comforting thing.” Larry’s daughter and grandson only had minor injuries. Per the GoFundMe set up for the family, Kathy was released from the hospital in mid-January 2022.

Larry is survived by his wife, Kathy, three daughters, and eight grandchildren.

Mildred and Richard Lipford

About a half mile northeast of the Burdon home lived 72-year-old Millie Lipford and her husband Richard, 69. They both died when the tornado struck their mobile home. They had been married for 49 years. Per Richard’s obituary, “he was a truck driver, and a veteran of the United States Air Force. He enjoyed collecting guns, model airplanes, fishing, and learning anything to do with history.” Millie’s obituary stated, “she enjoyed crocheting, gardening, canoeing, card games, board games and working puzzles.”

They are both survived by three daughters, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Before reaching the county’s eastern edge, the track sliced across and north of Highway 62. Little was left of a cluster of houses and New Beginnings Life Church.

Richard Carlisle, 67, lost his life in one of those homes. He was described as a loving father, faithful brother, and friend to many. Per his obituary, “Rick retired from Trane in 2014 with over 38 years of service. He spent many years doing mechanic work for friends, co-workers and fellow church members. Rick enjoyed building custom show cars, traveling to car shows and riding horses.” He is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, and a sister.

Richard Carlisle

Upon entering Hopkins County, the violent core of the tornado immediately descended upon the town of Dawson Springs. For over a mile, block after block of site-built houses were flayed to ruins. Amidst the debris field, it was impossible to tell what rubble came from where, and in some cases, only cinderblock foundations marked where structures had stood. Upwards of a half dozen businesses fared no better.

A labeled view of the fatalities across Dawson Springs. Sentinel 2 True Color imagery taken December 13, 2021.
Blocks of housing razed by the tornado in Dawson Springs. Image via FEMA/CAP.
John Hale

54-year-old John Hale died at his residence the night of the tornado. Per his obituary, he worked at S&S Sawmill. He liked video games and hunting. John is survived by his mother, two brothers, and two sisters.

Vollie Calvin Kelley, 84, was severely injured when the tornado struck his Dawson Springs home. He passed away at Baptist Health Deaconess in Madisonville on December 30, 2021. Calvin was a long-time member of The Union Temple General Baptist Church and is survived by his wife of four years.

Vollie Calvin Kelley
Sonya McChesney

Sonya Kay McChesney, 77, died near her Dawson Springs residence. She is survived by a daughter, a son, four sisters, a brother, and six grandchildren. Per her obituary, “Sonya Kay was a long-time member of Dunn Missionary Baptist Church where she played the piano. Her Christian faith was the most important thing in her life and molded her generous nature. She was known as a giver and caretaker, spending many of her days in service to others. Her life was ordered around being a help to people in need, especially her family, friends and neighbors.”

From the obituary of Carolyn Sigler, 78, “Ms. Carolyn was a very loving daughter, mother, sister, and aunt and was very devoted to her family.” She is survived by James Bennett and their daughter Angie, two brothers, and several nieces and nephews. A number of people on Facebook posted photos of Christmas labels they found in their yards.They had the name of Ms. Carolyn Sigler from Dawson Springs. Through the posts, they were able to track down her daughter Angie and mail them back to her.

Carolyn Sigler

Some of the labels were found 60-80 miles from Carolyn’s home. One of the furthest locations we found was Elizabeth, IN, approximately 115 miles away. One woman posted the following comment on one of the photos, “ I like to think she had a hand in all these labels being found all over Kentucky. Although deceased, she has touched a lot of lives with these address labels. I would be willing to bet she was the grandmother who sent out Christmas and birthday cards. Now, she has sent them to you. Peace be with you.”

Claude Mitchell, 67, had worked at the Ridgewood Terrace Health and Rehabilitation nursing home in Madisonville, KY, for about six years. Per an Associated Press article on December 16, 2021, “Whenever he stopped by residents’ rooms with clean clothes and fresh linens, he would say or do something to brighten their day.”

“It’s just a deep loss for us to lose someone that had such a bright personality,” said Lauren Lloyd, the rehab center’s administrator. “The staff are taking it hard.”

Jeannie Buckner’s 97-year-old mother lived at the facility. “Claude took a liking to my mom, and he was the greatest joy in her day when he would come in and talk to her for a few minutes. I can’t even tell you how she lit up when he would come in.”

The AP reported that staff and residents gathered a couple of days after the tornado to release balloons in honor of Claude. Per his obituary, he had “developed a talent for painting and was known as an excellent artist.” Claude is survived by his sister, Valdora.

Carole Grisham. Photo from her obituary.
Marsha Hall. Photo from her obituary.

Carole Grisham, 80, and Marsha Hall, 71, were simply known as “The Sisters” in Dawson Springs. “Everybody thought the world of them. They were the sweetest, nicest people who were always thinking about everyone else before themselves,” said Jason Cummings, Marsha’s son. Details on what happened to the loving sisters were received by Jason in two articles, one from CNN on December 14, 2021, and one from the Associated Press on December 17, 2021.

Jason sent a text to his mom and his aunt on the day of the tornado, just like he did every day. He would write “good morning” and tell them how much he loved them. He also cautioned them they needed to watch the weather. That night, Jason monitored the storms from his home in Nashville, TN. He texted his mom and told them to go to the hallway. “She said, ‘I cleaned out the closet in case I need to get in there.’” Cummins recalled. “She said, ‘I love you.’ She texted each of my siblings and said she loved them.” That was the last message he would receive. “I just texted them afterwards asking if they were all right,” he said. “I didn’t hear anything back. The text didn’t go through.”

Jason drove that night from Nashville to Dawson Springs. Per CNN, he arrived at 2:30 am, parked downtown, and walked up to where his mom and aunt’s home used to be. Jason searched frantically for them but to no avail. After returning at daylight, he found their bodies. The sisters were together, buried in the debris, a few houses away from their own.

Family members gathered after the disaster to dig through the belongings. Jason found his mom’s purse with cash she had set aside to hand out at Christmas. An American flag was uncovered and set up on a small pole on the property to honor the sisters who were considered “pillars in the community.”

Carole worked many years at Beshear Funeral Home. She also managed the dietary department at Dawson Springs Nursing Home. She is survived by a daughter and a son, sister, brother, uncle, four grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Marsha worked as a funeral attendant, cared for the facilities at Beshear Funeral Home, and cleaned homes for several families in Dawson Springs. She also worked many years at Ottenheimer Manufacturing and for many years as an inspector at Carhartt Manufacturing. She is survived by two sons, daughter, sister, brother, uncle, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Jeff Eckert, 70, and his wife Jennifer, 69, were snowbirds and split their time between Florida and Kentucky. They were tragically killed in their home by the tornado. Jennifer worked for an optometrist for 15 years. She loved traveling and being “Nonna” to her grandkids, and is survived by her son and daughter and five grandchildren.

Jeff founded J.K. Eckert & Company, Inc, a book publishing company. Per an Associated Press article, Jeff’s nephew, Mike, always thought his uncle was “mysterious and cool.” He played in various bands and was a small aircraft pilot. He was “Poppy” to Jennifer’s grandkids. Jeff is survived by his brother, a niece, and two nephews.

Jennifer Eckert
Jeff Eckert
Jenny Bruce

“Jenny Bruce was the friendliest person you’d ever meet. You’d just go up to her and she’d hug you and ask how your week has been. I was very close to her.” That loving comment comes from Emma Argo, who was interviewed on September 17, 2022, by WYMT. 16-year-old Emma wrote a children’s book about the December 10-11 Outbreak entitled “Bruce’s Home Run.” 

She named the main character after Jenny Bruce, 65, who died at her Dawson Springs home. Per WYMT, the story is about a “munster” named Bruce, who hides downstairs while a tornado hits his town. She wanted to write a book to help kids who went through the event not feel like they were all alone. Every character in the book is named after a victim.

Jenny worked as a finance officer for the Dawson Springs School System. After retiring, she served as a school board member. She is survived by a son, a daughter, two sisters, a brother, and two grandchildren.

Ernie Aiken, 86, was a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne. He attended a Mechanic Trade School in Indiana and owned/operated Ernie’s Garage in Dawson Springs. His shop was next to his mobile home off Frederick Road. The Associated Press interviewed Ernie’s son Tony, for a December 16, 2021 article. He said the following about his father. “I mean he just loved people. It’s not a high-income town. And so he would work on people’s cars and say, ‘Well, they need their car and they can’t afford to pay me so pay me when you can.’ The town loved him.”

Ernie Aiken

Per an article in France24 on December 14, 2021, Susan Orten, Ernie’s partner for 25 years, was interviewed. She called that stormy night, and Ernie was just sitting back in his recliner watching television. “‘If I’m here I’ll talk to you tomorrow.’ And that’s his last words,” she said.

Ernie’s son, Tony, shared with the Associated Press that his father had lost friends over the past few years and that he lived alone. His dad was “ready to go” and was “resigned to the danger of the storm.”

As the tornado roared through Dawson Springs, it carried Ernie’s trailer across the street. Per a Washington Post article on December 12, 2021, his body was found about a half-block away, next to his favorite bar at the American Legion club.

An article from October 28, 2022, on, highlighted a $1 million donation to help Kentucky victims. Kentucky Sports Radio and the Kentucky Chamber Foundation hosted a check presentation in Dawson Springs, on the site where Ernie died. The check was given to the Kentucky Habitat for Humanity. Ernie’s daughter, Sandra, is on the Habitat board and was there for the ceremony. “I think that they have ran with it and they are doing good works and it just makes me so proud,” Sandra said. “My dad would have been very proud of this. He had his shop just right back there and worked on everybody’s car in Dawson Springs.” The money is slated to be used to build 30 new homes.

Ernie is survived by two daughters, a son, a brother, six grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

The continuing arc of destruction through residential areas of Dawson Springs. Photo from the NWS Paducah.
Carl Hogan

Carl Hogan, 60, was at his Dawson Springs house alone the night of the tornado. His wife of 41 years, Rebecca, was at a nursing home recovering after a stay at the hospital. The BBC interviewed Carl’s daughter Katie on December 14, 2021.

She said she started calling her dad around 10:10 pm CST. “I couldn’t get through to him, he was a heavy sleeper. And finally at 10:20, I was able to get him on the phone and tell him there’s a tornado headed straight for us. You have to come to my house. He was half asleep, still groggy. He didn’t hear anything outside because it was so calm, and he said, ‘there is nothing even happening.’ And I said not yet, but it’s coming. He said, ‘let me hang up and look at the weather’ and I said okay, but you are gonna see you gotta get over here.”

Katie said it was within moments after she hung up with him that his area took a direct hit. After the storm had passed, she got in her car to head in the direction of where her father lived. It was only a mile from her. “I couldn’t get through in my car. There were power lines and trees everywhere. So I jumped out and just ran and ran, and even when I made it, I couldn’t tell where he was supposed to be because everything was gone. His RV was gone. The mobile home next to him, everything was just gone. The only way I could tell where he was supposed to be is because his vehicles were still there.”

The loving daughter searched everywhere in the heavy rain and pitch-black darkness. She yelled his name but to no avail. Katie’s boyfriend arrived, and he searched for hours. The couple finally gave up and waited until daylight.

Carl remained missing for almost 24 hours before they recovered his body. He was found a good distance from his home. “It was actually his sister that found him but because there was no cell service in the area, she could not notify me. She had to go through several people and finally a family friend was able to reach me and tell me that they had recovered my dad.”

Katie continued, “I’m just devastated. My dad was my best friend. He was an excellent grandfather to my kids. They were crazy about him, we all were. My dad has been a deeply spiritual person and so he always kept that Bible on the table and I would just really like to recover it and hope that it can bring me the same kind of strength that it brought him.”

Per an article, Carl was a retired long-haul trucker. He settled down in Dawson Springs to spend more time with his family. He is survived by his wife, father, two daughters, and four grandchildren.

Doug Koon left his mobile home with his wife Jackie, 11-year-old son Bentley, 4-year-old son Dallas, and two-month-old daughter Oaklynn and headed to his mother-in-law’s house to shelter. The baby was strapped in her car seat and remained with the family as they huddled in the bathroom.

Oaklynn Koon

Per an article for WHAS 11 on December 13, 2021, “We felt it was more protection for her,” Doug said. “Then all of a sudden as if time stood still. It felt like you were being tossed around like a rag doll in a sack. It felt somebody was standing and hitting me with a baseball repeatedly and you can’t hear anything but destruction.”

The family was thrown from the Crawford Lane home and landed across the street. All were alive but battered and buried—all except Oaklynn. Per an article at, she was out in the open, in her car seat, still strapped in. Doug frantically searched for his wife, sons, and mother-in-law and helped pull them from the rubble. “It’s the most traumatic thing I’ve ever been through,” he said. “I felt like I was helpless in protecting my kids against it.”

The family was treated for various injuries at the hospital. Per WHAS, initial tests for Oaklynn seemed to show that she was okay, aside from some bruises and scratches. “Her heart rate and blood pressure were fine, CT scan results were fine, and the x-rays looked fine,” Doug said. “Then later she was getting up and making grunting noises, and something not right with her, so my wife took her back.”

Additional test results revealed a brain injury. “Doctors told them she was going to be brain dead for the rest of her life, but likely would not pull through because her brain kept swelling.” Doug and Jackie made the excruciating decision to take Oaklynn off life support. “I don’t want to see my child suffer any longer than they have to because of me just trying to hold on to something that’s not there,” Doug said. “I’m grateful to have at least two months. She was the cutest baby ever and had the biggest smile and most beautiful eyes.”

Oaklynn is survived by her parents, two brothers, her grandparents, great-grandmother, three uncles, two aunts, and several cousins.

Less densely packed neighborhoods on the northeastern end of town were also wiped out.

Mary Alice Adams

Mary Alice Adams, 74, died in one of these neighborhoods. Per her obituary, “She was a mother first and foremost. She was talented in many areas: cooking, drawing, painting, poetry, writing, carpentry, gardening and sewing. She loved spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren most of all.” She is survived by two daughters, a brother, three sisters, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

The Hopkins County Coroner’s Office identified 34-year-old Martin Acree as one of the victims of the tornado. Unfortunately, we were not able to discover any information or an obituary.

Five miles SE of Earlington, a few houses along Ilsley Road were turned to scattered fragments. Excepting that, the ten-mile stretch after Dawson Springs was largely uninhabited. Most of the tiny Barnsley community on Highway 41 was literally wiped out, yet amazingly there were no fatalities here. Beyond an isolated property or two, the remainder of the tornado’s time in Hopkins County was spent chewing up forest.

This continued for another four miles in Muhlenberg County until Phillipstown Road, about 4.6 miles WSW of Bremen, where the topography changed to open farmland interspersed with groves and scattered residences.

A labeled view of the fatalities near Bremen. Kentucky Division of Geographic Information/Nearmap aerial imagery taken December 13, 2021.
Billy and Judith Miller

“There was no other love like theirs.” That is what Haley Burton told The Washington Post in a December 14, 2021 article about her grandparents, Billy and Judith Miller. The couple had been married for 56 years and renewed their marriage vows a few years ago.

Haley talked with her grandmother that Friday evening, and they would touch base the next day to let her know they were safe. Later that night, Haley’s sister messaged that Billy and Judith were not answering their phone. She started getting updates that farms near her grandparents were destroyed. Tragically, both Billy and Judith lost their lives. Their mobile home was obliterated, and they were found side by side on the property.

Days and weeks after the tornado, photos, mail, and other papers that belonged to the Millers were showing up many miles from their original location. From the Washington Post article, “A farmer in Indiana found a picture of the Millers as young parents. A 50th-anniversary photo blew upstate. A black-and-white childhood portrait flew more than 100 miles to Louisville, where Ellen Sears went to the park Saturday to take in a stormy sunrise. Soon Sears spotted something nestled in the grass that “just didn’t belong” — a girl’s photo, labeled “Judy,” somehow unscathed.”

Many of the photos were shared on a Facebook Group called “Quad State Tornado Found Items.” Haley discovered them there. “It gives me a lot of hope. With all the bad we have going on in the world … there are still great people out there that want these families to have these memories.”

More than two months after the tornado, an envelope addressed to the Millers was found more than 170 miles from their home in Breman. Per WCPO on February 15, 2022, Rob Hollman in Sparta, KY, found what looked to be litter along the side of the road. “I noticed a plastic bag with an envelope,” Hollman said. “It was right in the middle of a trail. It was an Evansville, IN postal stamp and it said the address was Bremen, KY. Bremen didn’t resonate with me. I picked it up thinking well, ‘I’ve heard about tornados taking debris a long way’ and I put it in my pocket. I got home that night and l looked on the internet for Bremen, KY, and what came up instantly was 12 people killed December 12th,” he said. “I looked at all the damage and I wondered where this address was. I looked on there and the name is Billy D. Miller. I went to the internet and I typed in people that died in the tornado and sure enough Billy Dale Miller and his wife Judith Miller were killed age 73 and 72. Immediately, really, [I] just started tearing up and crying because it’s one thing to find debris from a tornado but these people actually lost their lives,” he said. “I went on to read a little bit more. They had been married for 56 years and they found them in a cinder block home still snuggled next to each other. It’s just made me think more about life, about the precious times we’ve got here.”

Rob shared his findings with the Facebook group. He wanted the family to know that some of their loved ones’ belongings were still being found. It was an old tax bill envelope. “I wish it was a photo or something like that,” Hollman said. He added, “I certainly want them [the family] to know there’s a lot of people praying for them.”

Billy and Judith are survived by a son, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Billy is also survived by two brothers and Judy by four sisters.

Matthew Ferguson, 50, lived just up the road from the Millers. He and his two dogs, Leo and Chunk, were killed. His cousin Jenny Prewitt told The Courier-Journal in a December 14, 2021 article, that Matthew was “kind, caring, reserved, down-to-earth, and could connect with anyone.”

Matthew was an SRT Driver for Carhartt. He is survived by two sisters, two nieces, and a nephew.

Matthew Ferguson

The carnage inflicted by the tornado west of Bremen proper was some of the most violent along the path. Houses were obliterated, mostly into small pieces scattered downwind. Vehicles were slung about, and trees threshed to stunted and partially debarked trunks.

Carnage on the western fringe of Bremen. Image via FEMA/CAP.
Chase Oglesby

Andrew Oglesby, his wife Charity, and their five-month-old son Chase huddled in their Sacramento trailer the night of the tornado. Andrew’s grandfather, Robert Pierce, was interviewed by the Washington Post in a December 14, 2021 article. He said the tornado “picked up his grandson’s trailer and tossed it into a tree.” The couple was thrown out of the home. Per December 14, 2021 article at, Andrew somehow made a phone call to his sister. He told her, “my house is gone. I can’t find my baby. Charity is trapped.”

Rescue workers eventually found Chase’s body, and his parents were airlifted to the hospital. An article at stated that Andrew kept people updated on Facebook. Charity had back surgery because “the floor fell on her” and “crushed her spine completely.” She also had to have facial surgery to repair a damaged eye socket. Andrew had a broken neck and jaw.

Andrew shared the following in one of his posts: “The pain of my broken neck and all the other broken bones and deep bruises don’t touch the hurt I’m feeling with losing Chase. He was the best son any dad could ask for… I can’t explain this terrible nightmare. I don’t care that I’ve lost every single material item, but losing my son is something I never ever ever thought I’d be having to deal with at just 5 months old.

A January 6, 2022 article from WTHR shared that donations from residents of Morgan County, IN, and the Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was given directly to Andrew and Charity. The check presentation occurred at the hospital the couple was airlifted to, Deaconess Midtown Hospital in Evansville, IN. “It was a very emotional experience,” said Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Warrant Officer Tim Coryell. “We were very humbled to do the presentation of the generous donation of this community and Mr. Irsay to this very deserving family that has lost everything, including their baby son. No amount of money can ever replace that loss.”

Chase is survived by his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. His obituary said the following: “Chase laughed and smiled his way throughout his five months here on Earth, bringing so much joy and happiness to those around him. He was such a blessing to everyone, and was loved beyond words.”

Absolute devastation of substantial houses on the western fringe of Bremen. The foundation at right was the home of the Crick family. Photo from the NWS Paducah.

Kentucky District Judge Brian Crick, 43, lost his life at his family home. Per an article in the Washington Post on December 12, 2021, he was at the residence with his wife, Amanda, and two of their teenage children. A third child was at a friend’s house and was not in the tornado’s path. Amanda sustained injuries to her shoulder. Their 17-year-old son had a collapsed lung, and their 16-year-old daughter had cuts and bruises.

Brian Crick

Before becoming a judge, Crick was an attorney in private practice and a staff attorney for the Department of Public Advocacy. He was elected as District Judge over McLean and Muhlenberg counties in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. “We are especially heartbroken to get the news,” Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton said in a statement. “This is a shocking loss to his family, his community and the court system and his family is in our prayers.”

Judge Crick is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter, his parents, his in-laws, and several other family members.

Rita Gish

Rita Gish, 74, passed away at her Bremen home. Per an article in the Leader-News on December 21, 2021, the photo of her we have included was taken by her daughter Michelle, the day she died. Her daughter said they had been Christmas shopping. “She was so happy that day.” Rita lived alone with her furbaby, Zowie, a Pomeranian mix. She survived the tornado.

Rita was a retired cafeteria worker. She is survived by a daughter and a son, eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, three sisters, and three stepdaughters.

As before, many scattered residences in northern Bremen were laid to waste.

A leveled neighborhood in northern Bremen. Image via FEMA/CAP.

The tornado barrelled over the home of Jon Hardin and his wife, Autumn. They were at the residence with their two kids. Sadly, Jon, 36, was killed. Per an article for NewsChannel5 in Nashville on May 16, 2022, Autumn sustained internal injuries. The article also described how an organization called “God’s Pit Crew” was preparing to build a new house for Autumn and her children.

Jon Hardin

“We are actually from start to finish building them a new home. It will be totally furnished, all the furniture, dishes, everything complete. All they will walk in with is the clothes they need. That’s all they have to have,” said Warren Johnson, the construction coordinator. Autumn told NewsChannel5, “[The fact] that someone has built this home and given us this home, somewhere I can raise my children and let them feel safe. It’s going to be tremendous no doubt.”

Jon was a contractor with G & L Construction. He is survived by his wife, two children, mother, brother, grandmother, in-laws, and several aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

Cheryl Snodgrass. Photo from her obituary.

Cheryl Snodgrass, 52, was in her Breman home with her fiancé and another friend. Per an article for NewsChannel5 on December 13, 2021, Mark Campbell, a family member, said they decided to move from the house to the garage, thinking it was safer. The tornado roared in, and the roof collapsed. The two men dug themselves out of the rubble, but Cheryl was knocked unconscious. “They took her to the hospital to perform surgery, where she passed away on the surgery table,” Campbell said.

Ian Snodgrass, Cheryl’s son, told The Courier-Journal in a December 14, 2021 article, that his mom would be remembered for her kindness. “If anyone stepped foot inside her home, she would greet them with open arms.” Cheryl was a homemaker. She is survived by her fiancé, two sons, her parents, and a brother.

Roughly four and a half miles later, the twister slammed four site-built and manufactured homes on Thorofare Road in the Moorman area. All of these were destroyed, leading to the final fatalities of this tornado.

Diane Varney, 62, lived with her daughter’s family near Moorman. We found a Facebook page called “Mama’s Comfort Cooking LLC.” The owner of the page, Tracy, did a Facebook Live and interviewed Diane’s daughter Jenny Shemwell. She wanted to help Jenny in her time of need and be a blessing. Jenny shared that she was with her husband, Allen, three kids, and her mom the night of the tornado.

Diane Varney

They were watching the weather on television. Anytime it stormed, the family always camped out in the living room. There was a big tree on the other side of the house, and Jenny said she would always worry that if it fell over, it would land on the kid’s bedrooms. When it became evident that a tornado was heading their way, Jenny and Allen woke up the kids and had them move to the hallway with their pillows and blankets. They had mattresses ready to lay on top of the family if needed. The kids were on the left side of the hallway, and Diane was on the right side. Jenny described that she and Allen just stood there for a minute, looking down the hallway. They then heard the roar of the tornado, and the power went out. The pressure caused her ears to pop, and the windows blew in.

From Jenny, “So we grabbed that mattress and just threw it on the kids and just jumped on the mattress. Before our bodies got on the mattress, that tornado blew us about seven feet down the hallway. We were just laying on top of our kids just gripping them as hard as we can. We were just terrified that it was going to blow us away. We could feel all the debris…the pieces of the house just being tore apart, whipping over our heads and our bodies… The couches, the table, the chairs, just everything just whipping over us. And I was just screaming ‘Stay down! Stay down!’.”

Everything lasted but just a minute, but it felt like an eternity. Once the storm passed, most of the family stood up and looked around. They were disoriented. Jenny said they “were shaken and lost.” Diane was the only one buried under the rubble. The tornado had pushed everything from one side of the house to the other, which is where she was in the hallway.

The family huddled under a blanket to try to stay warm. Jenny’s husband and daughter could not make any 911 calls on their phones, but she was able to get a text out to a couple of co-workers who made an emergency call for help.

Jenny yelled to her mom that help was coming and that the kids were okay. “I knew that she would worry about them.” She never heard moans or screams coming from the debris to indicate if her mom was alive.

First responders finally arrived at the house. The Shemwell family lived on six acres, and Jenny said that she and the kids had to run across about four acres to find shelter in a police car. None of them had shoes on, and their feet were bruised and swollen. Allen stayed back to help emergency workers look for Diane. They found her in the same position she was in when the tornado hit. She was hunkered down, still covering her head. Jenny said that her mom might have had a heart attack.

Diane had worked 15 years at Burger King in Central City and was a team leader. Her son Ricky Beckman told The Courier-Journal she was “loved by managers, employees and customers alike.” She is survived by her children, three grandchildren, her father, and three sisters.

Meagan and Scottie Flener. Photo from The Courier-Journal.

Scottie Flener, 34, and his wife Meagan, 34, died in their Central City home. Their three children, Landon, Elizabeth, and Kenni, survived. The Fleners had already dealt with much tragedy in 2020.

Their little girl Thea, age 3, passed away from a rare condition called Metachromatic Leukodystrophy Disease (MLD). From that point on, Scottie and Meagan dedicated their lives to raising awareness for MLD.

Scottie was a self-employed roofer, and Meagan was a homemaker. They are both survived by their children. Scottie is also survived by his stepmother, three brothers, and three sisters. Meagan is also survived by her parents and a brother.

The vortex persisted across all of Ohio County. Five chicken houses were swept away along Highway 85, and two homes lost portions of their roofs. Just north of Hartford on Highway 231, two semi-tractor trailers were blown 40 yards, a small brick office structure was reduced to interior walls, and a couple of residences were destroyed. Similar destruction was left behind to six site-built and three manufactured homes near Highway 69.

A small brick office structure that was reduced to interior walls. Image from the NWS Louisville.

Unrelenting winds cut down tens of thousands of trees and ransacked a few more rural properties. About 15 miles after Highway 69, the vortex briefly dipped into Breckinridge County before continuing into extreme northern Grayson County. Even as it gradually weakened and narrowed, the treefall scar remained distinct. The last damage was to a boat dock before abrupt dissipation at 11:48 pm CST, three miles SW of Axtel.

In total, there were 57 fatalities and 515 injuries. In excess of 5,200 structures were damaged or destroyed by this singular twister. This included hundreds of commercial businesses and thousands of residences. Several statistics, in particular, stand out. As of December 2022:

  • The path length of 165.6 miles ranks as the longest-tracked tornado of the 21st century. Only the 1925 Tri-State tornado has reliable documentation that indicates a longer track at 174 miles. This is according to a 2013 study titled “The 1925 Tri-State Tornado Damage Path and Associated Storm System.”
  • The duration of two hours and 58 minutes is the second longest of the 21st century. The longest-lasting tornado since 2000 is currently the April 27, 2011, Louin/Enterprise, MS-AL EF4. Our previous analysis of that event found a duration of three hours and four minutes.
  • With 57 fatalities, it currently stands as the 4th deadliest tornado of the 21st century (since 2000) in the United States, and the 6th deadliest worldwide.

Tornado 8: Ramsey State Park, IL EF2

A home destroyed in the Ramsey area. Image from the NWS Lincoln.

At 8:53 pm CST, an EF2 tornado with winds up to 118 mph tracked for 41.9 miles through rural areas of Bond, Montgomery, Fayette, and Shelby Counties in central IL. The twister was up to 690 yards wide, and one person was injured. It just missed the towns of Sorento, Coffeen, Fillmore, Bingham, Ramsey, and Herrick, passing through Ramsey State Park. Several homes and farm buildings sustained damage, and widespread tree and power pole blowdown occurred.

Tornado 9: Trumann AR, EF2

Destruction in Trumann. Image from the NWS Memphis.

At 9:11 pm CST, an EF2 tornado with winds of up to 130 mph tracked for 3.6 miles through Trumann, AR. It was up to 250 yards wide, and six people were injured. Seventy buildings were destroyed, and 100 others were damaged. The town’s fire station was deemed a total loss.

Tornado 10: Gays, IL EF2

The path of this tornado across farmland. Image from the NWS Lincoln.

At 9:50 pm CST, an EF2 tornado with winds of up to 125 mph tracked for 15.8 miles through parts of Shelby, Moultrie, and Coles Counties, IL. It was up to 200 yards wide. The worst damage occurred to an ag services plant just west of Gays, where several structures were damaged or destroyed, and three tanker trucks were flipped.

Tornado 11: Ellington, MO EF2

A totaled home near Ellington. Image from the NWS St. Louis.

At 10:05 pm CST, an EF2 tornado with winds of up to 130 mph touched down 4.8 miles northeast of Ellington, MO. It moved east-northeast for 6.9 miles through rural eastern Reynolds County. It was up to 300 yards wide. A few homes were unroofed.

Tornado 12: Dresden, TN EF3

Destruction in Dresden. Image from the NWS Memphis.

An extremely long-tracked EF3 tornado with winds of up to 160 mph formed in Newbern, TN, at 10:32 pm CST. Over the next two hours, it would track for 122.91 miles. The twister reached a maximum width of 2000 yards and injured at least 34 people.

At Newbern, in Dyer County, the canopy at a Shell gas station vanished, and the associated convenience building crumbled. Significant roof damage occurred to several homes, the town’s elementary school, and an auto body shop. In rural Dyer County, northeast of Newbern, large trees were snapped.

The twister passed northeast into Gibson County, blowing down numerous trees in sparsely populated areas. A home lost some shingles along with its porch. Just southwest of Kenton, one house was moved off its foundation, remaining mostly intact aside from its roof. Two additional neighboring residences were also ripped apart. The vortex then slashed through the southern part of Kenton, where homes had roofs and exterior walls removed, and trees were downed and stripped.

The tornado crossed into extreme southeastern Obion County, heavily damaging a couple of homes along Sidonia Kenton Road. The twister then moved back into the extreme northeastern corner of Gibson County, uprooting trees, before moving into Weakley County. Passing north of Sharon, the tornado blew down many trees. It followed Highway 89, ripping apart several houses, before making a direct hit on downtown Dresden.

Numerous homes and businesses were affected in Dresden, including two churches, the fire department, a newspaper office, and the Weakley County Courthouse. A total of 100 residences were destroyed, and 187 were damaged across Weakley County. Trees, power lines, and additional debris littered the streets before the twister continued into Henry County.

Next in line was Cottage Grove, where homes were destroyed. The funnel continued northeast towards Buchanan, mainly knocking trees to the ground. At Cypress Hill, several trailers were significantly damaged. The twister then crossed Kentucky Lake, clipping the extreme southeast part of Calloway County, KY, downing trees at the Fort Donalds National battlefield before moving into Stewart County, TN.

Thousands of trees were mowed down at the Land Between the Lakes Recreational Area. South of Bumpus Mills, a house was unroofed, and manufactured homes were leveled. It moved across Fort Campbell, where it is unknown what damage occurred.

The twister crossed into Christan County, KY, passing just south of Lafayette. Extensive damage to houses and trees occurred in this area and through the town of Pembroke. A mobile home was obliterated. Dissipation finally occurred about 5 miles west of Elkton after the tornado crossed into Todd County.

Tornado 13: Chrisman, IL EF2

Damage to a farm north of Chrisman. Image from the NWS Lincoln.

At 10:41 pm CST, an EF2 tornado with winds speeds up to 115 mph touched down three miles north of Chrisman in Edgar County. It moved northeast for 3.7 miles passing southeast of Ridge Farm, before dissipating in far southeast Vermilion County. It was up to 100 yards wide. A farm north of Chrisman had several structures ripped apart.

Tornado 14: Russellville, KY EF3

A farm razed outside of Russellville. Image from the NWS Louisville.

At 12:47 am CST, an EF3 tornado with 140 mph winds began around 8 miles WNW of Russellville, KY, tracking northeast for 28 miles. It was up to 1400 yards wide. Several homes and farm buildings were damaged or destroyed. A dairy farm was leveled. One man was injured when his double-wide trailer was thrown into a grove of trees.

Tornado 15: Bowling Green, KY EF3

The second deadliest tornado of the outbreak developed at 1:09 am CST, approximately 11.7 miles southwest of Bowling Green. Near Tommy Smith Road, about 2 miles NNW of Rockfield, a cattle trailer was thrown 300 yards into a creek. An incredibly thin but powerful vortex left a distinct mark across a field of corn stubble. As it crossed Browning Road, just northeast of here near Van Meter Road, a few homes were ripped apart.

The razor-like path of the vortex across Browning and Van Meter Roads. City County Planning Commission (CCPC)/Nearmap aerial imagery taken December 12, 2021.

Cory Scott, 27, was sleeping at home in this area when the tornado swept through. The house was completely wiped away from where it sat, killing him instantly. In a December 18, 2021, article by CNN, Cory’s brother, Cole Scott, said, “The story of what happened gave me peace.” A neighbor had informed him the tornado quickly took Cory’s home. “Initially, I wondered if he was scared or hurt, or if someone got there sooner, would he be okay? But I knew it happened so fast he didn’t feel a thing.”

Cory Scott

Per his obituary, Cory attended Crossland Community Church in Bowling Green, where he began his Christian journey with Jesus. He worked for Bluegrass Craftsman in Rockfield as a contractor. He shared a passion for woodworking and craftsmanship with his father and renovated his own home together. Cory loved his family and friends and being the life of the party. Cory described his mother as his hero. Friends and family were always by his side, and in return, he was always there for them.

Cole looked up to his older brother and wanted to be just like him, to the extent that he’d copy the way Cory signed his driver’s license. Cole said he would likely get a tattoo of Cory’s signature one day so that the loving memory of his brother lives on.

Cory is survived by his parents, maternal grandparents, three brothers, a best friend, his girlfriend, three nephews, a niece, his aunts and uncles, and his beloved dog.

On the southwest side of Bowling Green, at Old Tram Road, almost a dozen site-built homes were total losses, one of which was swept clean from its concrete slab. Vehicles were crushed and hurled more than 120 yards. As the funnel ripped through Creekwood Subdivision, many houses were destroyed, including eight that were wiped off their foundations. In this neighborhood, 13 people were killed. This included multiple fatalities in two families.

A labeled view of the fatalities across Bowling Green. CCPC/Nearmap aerial imagery taken December 12, 2021.

A before and after view of the Creekwood Subdivision. Google Earth before imagery taken December 10, 2019, and CCPC/Nearmap after aerial imagery taken December 12, 2021.

Where the Bešić family home once stood. Image from the NWS Louisville.
Alisa Bešić
Alma Bešić
Samantha Bešić
Elma Bešić
Selmir Bešić

One group of loved ones shattered by this tornado were members of the Bešić family. Alisa, 25, Alma, 10 months, Elma, 5, Samantha, 5 months, and Selmir, 6, were sheltering when the tornado mercilessly tore through their home, killing them. The deceased were part of a large extended family of Bosnian immigrants who had migrated to the U.S. in search of greater opportunity. Alisa, a mother, was found in the remains of her home lifeless, clutching her daughters, Alma and Elma. Samantha and Selmir were the children of Alisa’s brother-in-law.

In a December 16, 2021, article from and one from The Courier-Journal on December 14, 2021, Alisa’s sister-in-law, Selveta Bešić, reacted with horror. “We were just shocked. One minute you’re alive and just playing with them and then the next 15 minutes they are gone.” Four other family members were severely injured, leaving at least one of them possibly paralyzed. “We were a family of 21, now it’s 16,” Selveta sobbed. In a December 14, 2021, article by the Bowling Green Daily News, Albert Mbanfu, an executive director of the International Center of Kentucky, expressed his devastation. Many refugee families lived in the Creekwood subdivision. Alisa and the deceased Bešić family members are survived by her husband, two-year-old son, and many extended family members and loved ones.

Where the Brown family home once stood. Image from the NWS Louisville.

Just two doors down, another major tragedy unfolded at the Brown family home. Seven members of one family spanning three generations were killed, including father Steven Brown, 35, mother Rachel, 36, their children Nariah, 16, Nolynn, 10, Nyles, 4, Nyssa, 13, and grandmother Victoria Smith, 64.

Nariah Brown
Steven Brown
Victoria Smith
Nolynn Brown
Nyles Brown
Nyssa Brown
Rachel Brown

The family sought shelter in their house when the tornado struck. Most of the residence was leveled, and Victoria’s truck landed in the living room. Victoria was discovered in a nearby field. Steven, Rachel, and Nyles were found together near the home. Nariah was thrown into a nearby creek, and Nolynn was located on a neighbor’s property. Nyssa’s body was found five days after the tornado, a quarter mile southeast of the Brown home.

Rachel’s sister-in-law, Cierra Bryant, recalled the increasing pain over the following days in a December 16, 2021, article by the “She checked in with her sister-in-law, Rachel Brown, on Facebook after the tornado blew through the town but never got a reply.” Then the rolling punches came. “Her husband has been receiving calls, one-by-one, confirming his loved ones were victims of the EF3 tornado that struck the Bowling Green community.”

In a December 14, 2021, article by The Courier-Journal, Steven’s mother, Cynthia Duncan, described her son as a God-fearing man who devoted himself to his family. Steven and Rachel were high school sweethearts before he served two tours in Iraq. Upon return, Steven’s stepfather described, “Steven began to glow again,” when the happy couple tied the knot and started a family. He was a loving and supportive man to the love of his life and the rest of the Brown family.

Rachel was described as fearless with a beautiful heart for other people in her life. Nariah, the oldest child of the Brown family, took on the motherly role. Nyssa was described as being a handful by Reverend Terrence Duncan Sr. during the family funeral. She gave the family all they could handle, “but that’s who she was,” described Cynthia. Nyles was always a joy, who could light up any room with his smile. Like his brother, Nolynn was always smiling. Even if he was being scolded by his parents for misbehaving or getting picked at by his friends, he could not hold back his grin. Grandmother Victoria was a medical technician at The Oaks in Madisonville. She was a strong woman who loved all her grandbabies dearly.

At the Brown family funeral, Reverend Chris Brandon, Steven Brown’s uncle, recalled his own overwhelming sadness in a December 21, 2021, article by The Courier-Journal. “It’s hard when you lose one. But when you lose seven, my God.” Nolynn had received a Bible upon getting baptized at his church. Days after the tornado hit, the Bible was found intact in a neighbor’s backyard. At the funeral, Cynthia used the Bible to deliver Nolynn’s eulogy.

Per her obituary, Victoria’s family is survived by her husband, three children, five siblings, 18 grandchildren, and many additional friends and family members.

Carnage across the subdivision, including the residence of Say Meh. Image from the NWS Louisville.
Say Meh. Photo from Cone Funeral Home.

Say Meh, 38, was at her home when the tornado came screaming down her street in Bowling Green. She was initially injured when her home was hit but later died at The Medical Center at Bowling Green. According to the Courier-Journal and her obituary, Say and her family were Burmese refugees, well on their way to making the most of their life in America. She was studying hard to obtain her United States citizenship and to become self-sufficient in English.

She was a kind and devoted wife and would always be willing to help her friends. A quote from the Courier-Journal used from Say’s GoFundMe page said, “Say Meh loved life and never met a stranger. Her tireless spirit and her charming smile will be missed.” Say is survived by her husband and three children.

The tornado pushed deeper into residential areas of Bowling Green. Another fatality occurred in The Whispering Hills subdivision.

Per the Courier-Journal, Mae White, 77, worked at ShopHQ, where coworkers remembered “Miss Mae” as a wonderful, fun, and loving person. She “made working in the pack area fun,” another coworker added. She was full of life but didn’t take negativity from anyone. “I will always love and respect this woman,” her coworker mourned. In a December 13, 2021, New York Times article, Mae’s daughter Taronda Bell described her mother as a selfless person who would help anyone in need. “Whatever Mae White needed to be done, she did it,” Taronda said.

Mae White

The funnel continued into town, reaching a peak width of 440 yards as it caused significant damage to many homes and businesses. Some of the commercial lots hit include Royal Motor Cars, Caberas Mexican Restaurant, Enterprise car rental, AutoZone, Walgreens, and Taco Bell. One fully loaded dumpster was hurdled 250 yards. The twister missed Western Kentucky University by 225 yards but littered the campus with debris. The tornado weakened as it moved through the eastern portion of town, causing minor to moderate roofing loss to houses and downing many trees.

Terry Jayne. Photo from Young Funeral Home.

Terry Jayne, 67, died of a heart attack while helping clean up debris from his daughter’s home, which had been hit by the tornado in Bowling Green. “He was, as he always was, helping someone else,” Terry’s brother Bruce Russell-Jayne said in an ABC36 WTVQ article on December 15, 2021. “Rest in Peace my ‘Little Brother.’ We are in shock and can’t believe you are gone.”

Per his obituary, Terry is survived by his wife of 46 years, a son and a daughter, three grandchildren, four siblings, and numerous nieces and nephews. Terry ran a floral business for at least 45 years. Living in nearby Russellville, KY, he was also a member of his church for 40 years and gave a lot to his community through his work. According to Terry’s obituary, “You only had to be around Terry for a few minutes to be touched by his kindness, generosity and the extraordinary love he had for his family. In this upside down world where so many people have forgotten common decency, Terry was a constant. Terry was an Exemplary role model for love and kindness who positively touched all those around him.”

Robert Williams Jr., 65, of Springfield, TN, lost his life to the tornado somewhere in the Bowling Green area. Whether he was passing through or visiting someone is unknown, as well as his whereabouts when the twister hit. He was initially injured but died after being transported to Skyline Medical Center in Nashville, TN.

Robert Williams Jr. Photo from Serenity Funeral Home.

In a Robertson County Connection article published on February 10, 2022, the city of Springfield, TN, where Robert had dedicated years of service and contributions, honored his loss and the legacy he left behind. “He was like a neighbor to me and was a great man,” Alderman James Hubbard said. “He was instrumental in getting me a behavioral management program that I had through the housing authority, and several other things. We’re going to miss him greatly. Mouse was his name, but I called him Junior. He was a wonderful person.” Known by his friendly alias, “Mouse,” Robert was willingly a giver as he served on the Springfield Housing Authority, the Springfield Industrial Development Board, and the Educational Facilities Board, assisting the community that loved him. Following his death, the Mayor of Springfield honored Robert by presenting a proclamation alongside several of his family.

A tractor-trailer was tossed as it crossed Route 446 on the eastern side of town, and then it slashed through the Corvette plant, ripping apart buildings and toppling light poles. It quickly intensified back to a high-end EF3 about 6.7 miles northeast of Bowling Green as it moved through the TransPark area, where a large warehouse building was leveled. From here, minor to moderate damage occurred to homes and farm buildings, and trees were toppled for the next 11 miles until the tornado about five miles NNE of Smiths Grove. The twister sadly killed 17 people and injured at least 63 others.

Tornado 16: Bowling Green, KY EF2

Damage at the NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green. Image from the NWS Louisville.
The simultaneous EF2 and EF3 tornado tracks across Bowling Green. Image from the NWS Louisville.

At 1:19 am CST, an EF2 tornado began at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport. It coincided with the killer EF3 that moved through town. The tracks came within a third of a mile from one another.

This twister traveled for 6.1 miles through the eastern part of Bowling Green and to the southeast of Plum Springs. A few buildings were wrecked at the airport, and several other homes and businesses were damaged across the remainder of the path. At the Corvette Track and Motorsports Park, cars were pelted with debris. Buildings had their roofs blown off, and walls were pulled out.

Tornado 17: Cave City, KY EF2

A damaged hotel in Cave City. Image from the NWS Louisville.

At 1:40 am CST, an EF2 tornado with 130 mph winds tracked for 16.6 miles through parts of Edmonson, Barren, and Hart Counties, passing through the towns of Cave City and Horse Cave. Dozens of homes and businesses were damaged. It was up to 900 yards wide.

Tornado 18: Lexington, TN EF2

Damage to a home near Lexington. Image from the NWS Memphis.

At 1:40 am CST, an EF2 tornado with 130 mph winds tracked for 15.34 miles through Henderson County, TN, passing north of Lexington and through Natchez Trace State Park. Several TVA transmission towers were toppled, and numerous trees were snapped or uprooted. It was up to 600 yards wide. One person was injured.

Tornado 19: Hardyville, KY EF2

A home damaged near Hardyville. Image from the NWS Memphis.

At 1:55 am CST, an EF2 tornado with 125 mph winds formed about 4.3 miles SW of Munfordville. It moved east-northeast for 24 miles through rural parts of Hart and Green Counties. Extensive tree blowdown occurred, and several farm buildings were destroyed, resulting in the deaths of many farm animals. Some homes were heavily damaged. It was up to 530 yards wide.

Tornado 20: Saloma, KY EF3

Destruction near Saloma. Image from the NWS Louisville.

At 3:20 am EST, an EF3 tornado with winds of up 140 mph moved for 14.7 miles through parts of Taylor and Marion Counties. It began about 1.8 miles west of Saloma. It moved northeast, crossing Quisenberry Road, a mile NNW of Saloma, where several trailers were leveled, resulting in one fatality.

Teresa Duncan

Teresa Duncan, 42, was killed when the tornado struck her mobile home. In a news report, Teresa’s son Matthew Fancher described that horrible night. “When the tornado hit, me and my little boy, three-year old, and my wife, Meghan. We was right here,” Matthew began. “We didn’t really have much of a warning other than the trailer started shaking real hard, and I heard my mother say ‘Oh God, hold on!’”

Matthew next remembered his little sister getting pushed to the ground before being sucked out of the mobile home along with Teresa by the tornado. Dazed and confused, Matthew woke up some distance away, screaming for help. “I couldn’t breathe,” Matthew remembered. “I found my wife and my little boy roughly right over here,” Matthew said, pointing at a piece of metal. When he described his mother Teresa’s fate, Matthew began to weep. “I ain’t going over there. That’s where Mom was.”

Per her obituary, Teresa is survived by her mother, fiancé, two daughters, two sons, two brothers, and one sister. In the Courier-Journal, Teresa was described as a “kind and loving woman who made an impact on people’s lives.” Her daughter, Paige Fancher, described her mother in a tribute as a hard worker and the first to offer help when it was needed, always willing to give people a second chance. Two of Teresa’s close friends described her as a beautiful, hard-working woman who was a kind soul and a loving person who wouldn’t think twice about doing anything for anyone. Paige added that her mother “loved with her whole heart and more.”

The tornado continued northeast, reaching peak intensity 1.7 miles NNE of Saloma, where many homes were destroyed, and a quarter-mile-wide swath of forest was mowed down. Before the twister dissipated about 2.4 miles NNW of Bradfordsville, extensive blowdown occurred, and several other houses were heavily damaged. In addition to the fatality, 31 people were injured.

Tornado 21: Dickson, TN EF2

A home that slid off of its foundation near Burns. Image from the NWS Nashville.

At 2:40 am CST, an EF2 tornado tracked for 10.87 miles through parts of Hickman and Dickson Counties, TN. It passed just south of Dickson and through Burns, where it dissipated. Two people were injured, as multiple homes were damaged or destroyed. It was up to 500 yards wide.

Tornado 22: Kingston Springs, TN EF2

A destroyed auto parts business near Kingston Springs. Image from the NWS Nashville.

At 2:57 am CST, an EF2 tornado with winds of up to 125 mph tracked 12.61 miles through parts of Dickson and Cheatham Counties, TN, passing just north of Kingston Springs. Several homes, businesses, and churches were damaged, and widespread blowdown occurred. One person was injured. It was up to 400 yards wide.

Tornado 23: Junction City, KY EF2

Damage to the Boyle County Airport. Image from the NWS Louisville.

At 4:01 am EST, a brief but intense EF2 tornado with 135 mph winds struck the Danville, Boyle County Airport at Junction City, KY. Several hangars and aircraft were mangled. A home just northeast had its roof blown off. The path was only 0.63 miles long and 100 yards wide.

Special Audio

The audio below was a part of a special episode of Weather Brains. Episode 881 aired on December 5, 2022. The panel and special guests joined to talk about the one year anniversary of the December 10-11, 2021 Outbreak. Jen Narramore created this audio to honor the lives lost.


The sources compiled in our research for this summary can be found here.

Questions or comments about this summary?  Contact us here!

Note:  There are some images/videos in our summaries that were licensed to us to be used only on this website. If you would like to use an image/video in your project or blog, please contact us and we will grant permission if possible.

Newspaper clips are embedded via Please see their terms and conditions.


Would you like to see more summaries like this one?  Support Tornado Talk on Patreon! Become a Patron!


HaydenTheWeatherNerd · November 1, 2023 at 3:35 pm

I was in bowling green when that f3 hit. scary night.

    Jen Narramore · January 25, 2024 at 9:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing Hayden! Glad you were okay!

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder