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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 11, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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night. >> nice. >> if you are walking around looking for the tree, just listen. you will hear them. >> oh! >> it will sound like angels. >> how exciting. >> yes. >> in 30 minutes. hope you guys have a great time. >> see you again at 6:00. tonight from mayfield, kentucky, the deadliest tornado outbreak in years. the loss of life and property absolutely devastating. ♪ ♪ >> across six states, death and destruction. entire neighborhoods in this kentucky city completely leveled the death toll rising across the state >> it may, ifact, end up exceeding 100 before the day is done >> dozens feared killed when a candle factory was demolished, terrifying stories from those trapped inside. >> god, please, send us some help. >> who somehow survived the tornadoes also taking lives in tennessee, arkansas
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and illinois where the roof collapsed in on an amazon warehouse. >> this will be ongoing for the next several days >> president biden rushing in federal resources. >> this is likely to be one of the largest tornado outbreaks in our history. >> the most deadly tornado believed to have torn through 200 miles across four states, one of the furthest ever recorded tonight, the search for those still missing, stunned survivors now without homes as communities across multiple states face unthinkable loss. >> our hearts are broken, our families are hurting. ♪ this is "nbc nightly news with kate snow" reporting tonight from mayfield, kentucky ♪ >> good evening. the devastation across an enormous area is hard to capture in just one shot. i'm in mayfield, kentucky, about two hours northwest of nashville and this post-apocalyptic scene you see is repeated block after block here this is what the candle factory here looked like last year
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and this is what it looks like now 110 people were inside when it hit. only 40 have been rescued so far 110 miles away, that same tornado hit a nursing home in monette, arkansas. this is video of that massive tornado which is being called the quad state because it might have traveled more tha 200 miles from arkansas to kentucky it could be one of the longest tracks of tornado damage in u.s. history. overnight as many as 36 tornadoes ripped across six different states we will cover it all tonight, but we begin here in kentucky where the governor said the destruction is like nothing he has ever seen >> from the air you can see clearly the city of mayfield in western kentucky is devastated storm chaser brandon clement raced here >> i'm looking at the trees and everything is completely sawed off. buildings are completely flattened and cars were picked up and thrown. you know right away you're
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dealing with a violent tornado. >> the storm hit after dark friday leveling everything in its path about 110 people were working overtime as production stepped up for the holidays at one of mayfield's largest employers, a local candle factory when the roof caved in on them. >> they actually recovered bodies from the woods and they were pulling them out and that's just -- it's gut-wrenching to see. >> homes caught fire, trucks and cars were flipped. >> it ripped it off. >> some even ripped to shreds planes at the local airport will never fly again. >> if you had to describe what's happened to your town to people that don't live here, what would you say? >> it's gone >> across kentucky, more destruction from a train derailment in hopkins county t more destroyed businesses in bowling green and homes ripped off roofs in danville. >> this event is the worst, most devastating, most deadly tornado event in kentucky's history. i believe that by the
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end of today or tomorrow we will be north of at least 70 lives lost here in kentucky i think we will have lost more than 100 people, and i think it could rise significantly in those numbers. >> kentucky's governor calling for those in his state who can to give blood to help >> we are at ground zero, and i know this community has been hit really hard. it's going to be a tough night for a lot of people across kentucky. >> the scope of what happened only now becoming clear, as many as 36 tornadoes causing destruction across six states. in arkansas, a nursing home with 65 residents completely destroyed at least one resident died >> it just kind of stopped my heart for a second knowing that the place had a lot of residents in it that are not physically able and capable of taking care of themselves >> a deadly twister in defiance, missouri >> structural damage to the amazon warehouse. this is going to be a major incident.
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>> in illinois, fatalities at an amazon warehouse and more damage across mississippi and tennessee. an older woman in kingston springs, tennessee, was pinned underneath a mobile home from the waist down until firefighters pulled her free tonight she's in critical condition president biden today approving a federal disaster declaration for kentucky, instructing fema and other federal agencies to move in quickly >> the federal government will do everything, everything it can possibly do to help >> kathy park is at that candle factory in mayfield where the heartbreaking search for survivors is still underway let's go to her now, kathy? >> kate, late today kentucky governor andy beshear said 40 people were rescued from the candle factory he can only hope more lives will be saved. >> tonight, the search and rescue effort continues at what was a candle factory in mayfield, kentucky 110 workers were inside friday night when the tornado hit
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the building now flattened. >> i'm prepared for the worst. i'm hoping for the best, but i'm preparing for the worst. >> darryl johnson is still frantically looking for his younger sister who he's been trying to reach since last night. she was working inside >> she's all i've got left, man. i lost my brother in 2016 to a murder and -- >> wow so i've got nieces -- she's it she's it, man. >> authorities say as many as 40 people's whereabouts are still unknown. >> hopefully there is more survivors and they're in there now working and trying to recover debris and move everything out. >> to know that i survived this, honey, listen, it's humbling, and i am forever grateful >> kiana parsons perez celebrated her 40th birthday today, but
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also her very survival she was one of the workers inside the factory. >> i think the lights went out and then we did a rock, rock, rock, boom and everything fell down on us. >> while trapped, she sent out this plea through facebook live. >> somebody, please, send us some help. we are trapped the wall is stuck on me nobody can get to us >> she was trapped for two hours. >> i'm, like, stuck underneath the walls i'll be the last person probably to get out, but i know i'm going to be okay >> and she was, with help from local rescue teams and inmates from a nearby jail who had been working at the factory. kiana made it out. >> they got me out >> relief for one of the lucky ones to get out as tonight the death toll from the scene is still climbing >> kathy, can you lay out for us what's happening right now on the ground there
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>> well, kate, there are first responders from neighboring jurisdictions. they tell me they plan on being out here as long as needed they also tell me they're literally walking on the roof of the candle factory looking for any survivors. k-9s are out here as well to help with the ongoing efforts. kate >> kathy, we saw a lot of them coming in today. the loss here in mayfield is a city of just about 10 thousand will resonate for years, if not generations. earlier today i spoke with the mayor, kathy stewart about the near-impossible task ahead. i started by asking her what she first saw after the tornado hit. >> i said my town is gone forgive me, i have not been back downtown since early this morning when the sun first came up. we spent the night at the fire station and we had people come shelter in place there, and as soon as we could, we got school busses to take them to the high school, to mayfield
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high school where they can be better cared for. so then we stayed and we knew it was bad, but not until the sun started coming up did we look at matchsticks. >> everywhere. >> your whole downtown is gone. >> yes >> all of our downtown churches are gone. four major downtown churches and they're all gone. >> do you have any sense, madam mayor, for how many are out of houses? >> i do not. i do not and we are just now getting organized and not to take care of our people so much, but just how do we go forward with this? because this isn't going to be next week. >> no, and you've got christmas a couple of weeks away. >> right. >> holidays coming >> right, but our hearts are broken. we are a small town, a little under 10,000 and we are a very tight-knit town and we might squabble at a local restaurant that used to be over here in the morning for
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breakfast, but when we need each other we come and that's what's happening and we have seen that today. we have seen that. >> you see them come together now. >> right and we will continue to see it. >> madam mayor, thank you so much. >> thank you thank you for coming to our town. >> the mayor told me what she wants from the rest of the country now are prayers. >> now to illinois where a tornado smashed through edwardsville there, north of st. louis the twister ripped apart an amazon warehouse filled with workers killing six people morgan chesky is there right now. morgan >> that update from officials came in just the last few minutes on top of the death toll, they would release workers from the amazon warehouse nearly as big as a football field when the tornado struck and at this hour, search and rescue operations are still ongoing. a tornado's wrath painfully clear, striking edwardsville just north of st. louis where today, daylight showed the
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remnants from a friday nightmare, fast-moving funnel cloud tearing through town the twitter made a direct hit on a massive amazon warehouse, killing six workers inside and leaving dozens trapped when a roof and wall collapsed >> and we will continue recovery operations until all personnel are accounted for. >> they're working on trying to save some people that are trapped in the rubble. rescue crews converged in minutes helping more than 30 workers escape the rubble. some family members rushing to check on loved ones >> i had no idea the building looked that bad. i'm worried sick i want to know that he's okay. >> today crews began the painstaking process of looking through that debris.
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the tornado sheared off an entire side of the building. >> that was completely destroyed. thomas dewalt rode out the storm inside his delivery van causing a glimpse of the damage as he joined others with the shelter >> where i grabbed my bags and my keys and there was a bathroom over there and that bathroom was gone. >> tonight amazon responding to the tragedy. our thoughts and prayers and deepest sympathies are with the victims, their loved ones and everyone impacted. this is a devastating tragedy for our amazon family and our focus is on supporting our employees and partners >> morgan's with us now. is there any word on how many people might be unaccounted for >> kate, authorities said they're continuing to search that site for any sign of life, but after surveying the damage today they don't believe there are any survivors. kate >> all right, morgan, thank you. let's go to arkansas now where there is a report of one dead after a storm hit a nursing home there this is what it looked like from above. jay gray is on the ground there in
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monette, arkansas, jay? >> hi there, kate. i want to walk you through exactly what unfolded here according to survivors. the storm moving from across the parking lot here in a neighborhood just beyond this nursing home, ripping down these trees and tossing these cars and then a direct hit right here at the facility, ripping away the wall and tearing away the roof and the back half of this nursing home completely destroyed one of the patients inside was killed. several others injured. tonight in this community, police continue their search and rescue efforts kate >> jay, thank you. the deadly tornadoes that hit, they weren't just unusual because it's december which is unusual, but also because one may have been on the ground as we said for 200 miles. nbc 4 new york meteorologist matt brickman joins me now with more on why both of these things are so rare matt >> kate, we'll still have to get confirmation from national weather survey crews, and if it's determined that the line of storms that stretch from arkansas to kentucky was one continuous
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tornado covering the path of about 250 miles and that will be the longest single track tornado and what's also unusual is we don't get tornadoes in the month of december however, ef-4 tornadoes have only occurred 19 times in the us in the month of december going back to 1950 ef-5 tornadoes only twice the most recent 1957 we still have to get confirmation whether these storms were that strong, but looking at some of the damage we've seen down there, certainly a possibility. there is a threat of severe weather tonight. tornadoes will likely be as strong along the southeast and northeast, however, an isolated tornado or two is still possible as that cold front pushes across the eastern seaboard throughout the evening tonight. >> let's hope not, matt, thank you. we will have more from kentucky later in the broadcast, but up next we go to my colleague jose diaz balart in new york for a look at
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the day's other top stories including a new report about how contagious the omicron variant is
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welcome back i'm jose diaz balart in new york, now to the covid crisis we have new insight tonight on just how contagious the omicron variant is and what it means when it comes to how well the vaccines work against it. our emilie ikeda breaks down what we are now learning >> tonight more evidence suggests omicron is better at sidestepping vaccines than earlier variants
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including the highly transmissible delta mutation. >> there is a much reduced effectiveness against symptomatic mild infection >> but in a sign of hope the uk study analyzing 600 positive cases, underscored the power of boosters providing 70 to 75% protection against symptomatic protection. >> there have been over 50 million booster doses administered in the united states. >> here in the u.s., omicron arrived earlier than initially thought now touching the majority of states so far no deaths and a single hospitalization according to the cdc more than three-quarters of those infected were fully vaccinated, including peter mcginn who was minnesota's first case >> i felt like it was a cold just because at the time, you know, i'm vaccinated i'm boosted. the people i was with are vaccinated and boosted and the thought of covid never even crossed my mind >> states like new
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hampshire are pushing for a booster blitz with pop up-vaccine sites as cases reach a new all-time high. in nearby illinois a 100% spike in infections meanwhile, hospitalizations soar a staggering 40% >> some truly have ptsd because of covid and it's led to a massive staffing crisis forecasters predict a continued climb in cases, particularly in the northeast. new york city on track to more than double its infections this month. the concerning trend prompting the governor to reimplement an indoor mask mandate. is continued development of new variants inevitable? >> as long as we are not vaccinating the world, we need to be able to get in front of it. the more the virus has an opportunity to spread, the more it has an opportunity to mutate >> emilie ikeda joins us live from los angeles. emilie, we are fast approaching a grim milestone, 800,000 covid-19 deaths. what's behind the latest surge >> jose, health officials are reminding americans it is the delta variant
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driving the rise in hospitalizations here in the u.s. making up more than 99% of cases. the united kingdom on the other hand says omicron could be the dominant strain there later this month emilie ikeda in los angeles. thank you. >> the urgent call for change following the deadly crash and the heroes who helped we return to kentucky for the inspiring stories of those who rushed into danger
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>> and we are back with an update on a deadly crash in mexico
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it happened earlier this week in gutierrez. more than 150 migrants were packed in the back of a truck. 54 were killed when the trailer flipped and while the injured recover, officials from a group of nations including mexico, guatemala and the u.s. are forming a group to combat the smuggling of people across borders mexico's president is now calling on the world to address the causes of mass migration. it was a solemn journey home today for bob dole the former republican senator and presidential candidate was remembered in his western kansas hometown during a memorial service the community in russell, kansas, got a change to say good-bye to the world war ii hero at the small catholic church near where he grew up during the great depression bob dole died last sunday at the age of 98 >> a military rivalry on the gridiron just wrapped up the annual army-navy football game played today.
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the show down on the field at metlife, new jersey th navy midshipmen won the game against the army black knights by 17-13, it was 122nd time the two teams hit the field. just ahead, we re-join my colleague kate snow in kentucky at the site of that deadly tornado with the stories of the heroes who helped save lives.
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we are back from mayfield, kentucky, and while darkness has
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fallen here on the city, there will be very little sleep for the first responders and everyday heroes working to help save lives and bring relief to these devastated communities. so before we go tonight, a look at some of the efforts as this tragedy unfolded. >> they're working on trying to save some people that are trapped in the rubble. >> in the darkest hours of the disaster. >> this will be a major incident. >> heroes rushed toward the danger like at this collapsed amazon warehouse in illinois across the region, brave first responders, neighbors and strangers risking their own lives to help while communities took cover >> we got hit by a tornado, and i'm trapped. >> from the lifeline at the collapsed candle factory in mayfield, kentucky. >> i don't know if it was nate or gary, but it was one of them, and thank you if you are watching, thank you. but he came down there. both of them held my hand, talked me through and they pushed and pulled me up >> to saving residents trapped in this north arkansas nursing home and the rescue team getting a woman out from under her manufactured home in
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tennessee. compassion in the midst of the crisis, too, for animals in the tornado's deadly path in missouri where things could have been so much worse. >> local residents in this area jumped into action quick and worked with us >> as the sun rose, we saw the full impact of this catastrophe in mayfield, kentucky, houses of worship destroyed at one of the holiest times of the year, but beyond those walls, the charitable spirit still strong late this afternoon, volunteers got to work at marcelis community kitchen near mayfield preparing meals to help feed the weary. in the days and hours ahead, the community and the nation uniting to help those who lost everything >> we thank you every day. we absolutely thank you today. thank you so much for what you've done for our people over these last hours >> and late today kentucky's governor says offers of help are pouring in from all across the country.
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that is "nbc nightly news" for this saturday i'll be back here tomorrow evening with you reporting live from kentucky. we will have much more from the region tomorrow on "today." on behalf of jose diaz-balart and everyone at nbc news, i'm kate snow. thanks for joining us, stay safe and have a great night. right now at 6:00, bracing for the storm. we're tracking a powerful atmospheric river headed to the bay area. meteorologist rob mayeda has the hour by hour time line.
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plus the sierra gearing up for more snow. also still so many questions. the investigation continues tonight after a deadly standoff in a normally quiet east bay neighborhood. we speak with the city's mayor. the news at 6:00 starts now. thanks for joining us. >> the calm before the storm. this time tomorrow most of the bay area will be dealing with either heavy rain or strong winds. the storm also bringing snow to the sierra, might bring some to where we live, too. you can see already plenty of snow along the side of the road. this is highway 50 near myers outside of south shore and near the north shore. cal trans and chp advising people not to travel to the sierra between sunday and tuesday. and storm ranger is out on san bruno mountain scanning for those first bands of rain and snow. let's get right over to meteorologist rob mayeda.

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