States Suffer, Building Codes Questioned in Wake of Deadly Tornadoes

December 16th, 2021 by Luly Hernandez

Several states across the Midwest and the South are recovering after deadly tornadoes ravaged parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee on December 10 and 11.

According to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshar, at least four tornadoes touched down in Kentucky and one was on the ground for more than 200 miles in the state alone, making it the worst tornado event in state history. He also said they believe 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.

Mayfield, Ky., mayor Kathy Stewart O’Nan described the town as missing glass in buildings and automobiles and seeing immense damage in her hometown.

“Our city hall was destroyed. Our fire station was destroyed. I don’t think there’s a pane of glass in any vehicle or property that the city owns that isn’t shattered,” O’Nan said during a press conference on Sunday.

Reports from local news outlets describe entire towns being demolished as pedestrians have to navigate walking through downed powerlines, bricks and broken glass.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker suggested building codes may need to be updated after an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Ill., suffered from the storms and killed six employees.

“Already, there’s been an effort to determine some of the challenges… if there were any structural issues, and what exactly the storm’s trajectory was,” Pritzker said during a press conference on December 13.

“We want to make sure the code is up-to-date, especially up-to-date given the serious change in climate that we’ve seen across the country,” he added.

President Joe Biden approved several emergency and disaster declarations over the weekend, including a disaster declaration for Illinois, an emergency declaration for Tennessee and emergency and disaster declarations in Kentucky.

[DWM] attempted to contact several glass companies in the affected areas but hadn’t received responses at the time of publication.

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