The central and southern United States were devastated on the night of December 10 by a series of tornadoes. The provisional toll of this “unimaginable tragedy “, according to Joe Biden, is 83 deaths. If the link between climate change and this event is not clearly established, the US president stressed that weather phenomena were “more intense ” with global warming.
A field of ruins. This is how USA Today describes Mayfield, a Kentucky town ravaged by a tornado. As the country suffered “one of the worst series of tornadoes” in US history, according to President Joe Biden, at least 83 deaths were recorded on the night of December 11-12. In Illinois, at least six people died in the collapse of an Amazon warehouse, announced the Edwardsville fire chief, specifying that the rescue part of the operations was now over leaving room for the recovery of the victims . “We are heartbroken at the loss of our colleagues there, and our hearts and prayers are with their families and loved ones.”, reacted on Twitter the boss of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. Up to a hundred employees of the retail giant worked nights to process orders before the holiday season.
Despite Jeff Bezos’ word of support, Amazon employees are bitter. According to Bloomberg information, the disaster sparked a wave of protest against the ban on having your cell phone at your workstation. Some employees say that having access to their phone would make it possible to receive weather alerts or to prevent emergency services in the event of an emergency. “After these deaths, I don’t rely on Amazon at all for my safety,” a worker at a nearby Amazon facility in Illinois told the agency. “If they institute the no-cell phone policy, I quit.”
Tennessee has recorded four deaths, two people have died in Arkansas, while at least one death is in Missouri. But it is Kentucky, in the center-east of the country, which pays the heaviest price after the passage of this violent meteorological phenomenon affecting particularly the immense American plains. After announcing ” at least 70 dead” in his state, Governor Andy Beshear said that ” by the end of the day or tomorrow” , the death toll would rise to more than 100 deaths, specifying even to expect this that “the number is rising considerably”. He called on residents to donate blood to treat the wounded.
“Climate change may have played a role”
About 30 of these storms hit the United States on Friday evening and Saturday morning. One of the tornadoes traveled more than 400 km, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), while on average these do not exceed more than 6 km in distance. While it is difficult to establish a direct causal link between climate change and the disaster that has grieved the country, President Joe Biden said the weather phenomena were “more intense ” with global warming.
“Climate change may have played a role. Recent research shows that it can cause tornado alley (a central region of the United States where tornadoes occur frequently) to move eastwards and particularly to parts of the Mississippi Valley.”