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Deadly US tornadoes hit as intense storm risks increase

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Deadly US tornadoes that left a path of destruction across states including Kentucky have highlighted the need to prepare for rising risks from intense storm events, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell says.

More than 80 people died in Kentucky, where the town of Mayfield was decimated on Friday night. The tornadoes also caused damage in Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi.

“There's going to be a lot to learn from this event and the events that we saw through the summer,” Ms Criswell told the This Week program on US ABC News.

“We're seeing more intense storms, severe weather, whether it’s hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and one of the focuses my agency is going to have is, how can we start to reduce the impacts of these events as they continue to grow.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says more than 30 tornadoes were reported. The largest tornado that devastated Kentucky travelled across more than 200 miles (322 km).

“This is Kentucky’s most devastating tornado event in our history. We have lost far too many of our brothers and sisters,” Governor Andy Beshear told a briefing. “Nothing that was standing in the direct line of this tornado is still standing.”

President Joe Biden said it was likely to be one of the largest tornado outbreaks in US history and came as climate change was affecting the intensity of events.

“The specific impact on these specific storms, I can’t say at this point,” he said. “But the fact is that we all know everything is more intense when the climate is warming.”