“We know that we are likely to have more than 50 deaths, if not significantly north of that, from this event,” Beshear said.
Most of the destruction centred on Graves County, he said, including the town of Mayfield.
“It hit Mayfield as hard as just about any town … has ever been hit,” according to CNN.
Officials said that tornadoes had killed at least one person at an Arkansas nursing home and caused a roof to collapse at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois, leaving workers trapped inside.
At least five states were hit by unseasonably powerful storms and tornadoes on Friday night, including Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee, said Bill Bunting, the operations chief at the Storm Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service, New York Times reported.