Stories of survival from the tornadoes’ epicenter


MAYFIELD, Ky. (NewsNation Now) — A Kentucky woman woke up bleeding and injured in the woods after the bathtub she was hiding in was thrown from her home during the devastating tornadoes that swept the state.

“I honestly thought I was going to die because I didn’t see anyone around, it was so dark. There was no one around,” Jasmine Parrott told NewsNation. “I heard someone scream for help. But I’m pretty sure she was buried under the stuff. I couldn’t get to her.”

At least 88 people died after more than 30 tornadoes tore through Kentucky and four other states over the weekend. In Kentucky, five twisters hit the state, including one with a path of about 200 miles, authorities said.

Parrott spoke with NewsNation’s Rudabeh Shabazi in the wreckage of her Mayfield neighborhood. Parrott couldn’t stand up because of her injuries.

The National Weather Service on Wednesday said the preliminary damage rating for the tornado that went through Mayfield was an EF4, with maximum winds of 190 mph.

Twisted sheet metal, downed power lines and wrecked vehicles lined the streets of the town of 10,000. Parrott said she was relaxing at home when the storm approached.

“I heard a loud noise that sounded like a train then that’s when it hit me,” Parrott said. “My bathtub flipped over. And I just kept like rolling around in the bathtub then it eventually threw me out. It threw me so far like my cars in my living room.”

Parrott said after being swept up into the storm, she woke up in the woods.

“I was crawling whenever I dug myself out. And somehow my phone lit up so I grabbed my phone. And then I kind of like sat there for a minute because I was like, ‘Is this real? Like where am I?'” Parrott said. “I had so much debris and stuff in my eyes like they were covered I could barely see.”

“I really haven’t slept in a few days. Every noise that I hear it scares me,” Parrott said.

The number of those killed during the tornadoes in Mayfield is still unclear. At least eight people working at a Mayfield candle factory were killed and more were missing.

Barry McDonald, a Mayfield city councilmember, stood in the middle of the wreckage, his voice clouding with emotion as he describe the impact on the town of 10,000 on “Morning in America” earlier this week.

“It’s hard to describe,” McDonald said. “The devastation is a half-mile to a mile and a half wide path from one side of the city right through the other. The good thing is, we’re already trying to recover. And that’s the important thing.”

President Joe Biden visited Mayfield Wednesday to survey the damage. The president signed two federal disaster declarations for Kentucky over the weekend, providing federal aid for search and rescue and cleanup operations, as well as aid for temporary housing and to help individuals and businesses recover.

Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman also joined President Biden Wednesday to survey storm damage in Mayfield, one of the hardest-hit areas in the state.

“We still have about 75 people who we know we have lost and 100 that are unaccounted for,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman who joined NewsNation Prime. “And we will continue to look for those folks and we don’t give up hope in Kentucky. We’re going to keep working to reunite families and as long as we can.”

Lt. Gov. Coleman said 600 national guardsmen have been deployed to assist with search and recovery and cleanup efforts there. She also said community members are taking shifts, going from house to house, to assess the damage as well.

“It truly is a remarkable feat. What these communities have put together in such a short amount of time and the progress that they have made in such a short amount of time.”

You can watch the rest of Lt. Gov. Coleman’s interview with NewsNation’s Marni Hughes here.

Sources tell NewsNation that Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will visit Bowling Green, Kentucky Friday.

A subdivision in the community suffered a direct hit from a tornado, killing more than a dozen people. Thirteen people are still missing.

NewsNation’s Tom Negovan reports on the devastating impact and search efforts.

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