Portsmouth-based Mercy Chefs deployed to Mayfield, KY following deadly, severe weather

National

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Massive destruction follows a tornado or tornados that may have tracked through portions of Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

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“A tornado is unique usually in that you can go a half a mile, or a mile in one direction or another and you can find open businesses or gas station or hotels. Well, here with the long track of this tornado, I mean 260 miles long and up to two miles wide, you have to go an hour, hour and a half to find normalcy,” said Head Chef and Founder of Mercy Chefs, Gary LeBlanc.

More than 70 people are expected to have died in Kentucky alone.

Portsmouth-based Mercy Chefs has deployed to Mayfield, Kentucky to help those impacted by the possibly first-ever “quad-state” tornado. 

The nonprofit provides hot meals after natural disasters and other emergencies. LeBlanc says this is the worst tornado damage he’s seen in a long time.

“It’s reminiscent of Moore, Oklahoma or Joplin, Missouri. Or even Tuscaloosa. Here in Mayfield the damage is just utter and completely unimaginable to see a town that is not going to be rebuilt, there’s notthing to rebuild from,” said LeBlanc after driving through.

He says their team handed out meals to victims, volunteers, and first responders last night and will keep doing so as long as it takes.

“Last night as we pulled into the parking lot folks were saying, we’re so relieved to see you,” stated LeBlanc.

Radar indicates a tornado may have tracked more than 250 miles.

It’ll be days before the National Weather Service will be able to confirm whether this was one tornado or multiple tornados.

“For miles and miles around us, everything is topsy turvy. Power is out, homes are down, people are dazed and what Mercy Chefs hopes to do is bring a moment of comfort,” added LeBlanc.

If you’d like to donate to Mercy Chefs, there’s a link on their Facebook page as well as a place to sign up to volunteer on their website.

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