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Tornado in Jefferson City, Mo., may have caused ‘catastrophic damage’


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Rescues underway after monster tornado slams Missouri capital city, governor asks for prayers

 

Jefferson City, the capital city of Missouri, has taken a direct hit from a tornado and suffered possibly “catastrophic” damage, according to reports.

Two local hospitals were treating a total of about 100 people for unspecified injuries, according to a report. "Hospital staff say ambulances have been in and out all morning," the report by Columbia, Mo.'s KOMU-TV said.

According to the National Weather Service, a “confirmed large and destructive tornado” was observed over Jefferson City, at 11:43 p.m., moving northeast at 40 mph.

The twister appeared to have traveled through the center part of town, the Jefferson City News-Tribune reported.

"We are currently identifying the location of damages and searching for injured residents," Lt. David Williams of the city's police department said in a statement to the News-Tribune. "The primary need at this time is for those not affected to stay clear of the impacted areas so that Emergency personnel can assist those in need."

Williams referred to the aftermath of the tornado hit as a "chaotic" situation, KOMU reported.

 

The Missouri Department of Public Safety reported extensive damage along Ellis Boulevard near Highway 54 in Jefferson City. (Missouri Department of Public Safety)

The Missouri Department of Public Safety reported extensive damage along Ellis Boulevard near Highway 54 in Jefferson City. (Missouri Department of Public Safety)

The Missouri Department of Public Safety reported extensive damage along Ellis Boulevard near Highway 54 and warned of downed power lines. Authorities warned residents that all downed lines should be considered live -- and advised that people stay away from areas that have experienced heavy damage.

 

In Jefferson City, the state capital, there is extensive damage along Ellis Boulevard near Highway 54. Power lines are down. Traffic is being diverted as @MSHPTrooperGHQ & local first responders go door-to-door. Consider all power lines live.
Stay out of areas with damage. #MoWx

 
 
 
 
 

1147 pm - Jefferson City MO - Violent tornado confirmed - shelter now!#midmowx

 
 
 
 
 
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Here's another look at the deadly #tornado from #CarlJunction, MO on Wednesday evening. We'll continue to track #severe weather on-air and online on @WeatherNation.

 
 
 
 

The state's Emergency Management Agency tweeted early Thursday that tornado warnings were still in effect in parts of Missouri and that flash flooding remained a threat as long as rain continued.

 

Tornado warnings continue in Missouri. Flash flooding hazard will expand as rain continues. Think of safety first. Treat non-working traffic lights as 4-way stops. #TurnAroundDontDrown #MoWx

 
 
 
 

Gov. Mike Parson issued a statement via Twitter:

"Major tornados across state tonight, including Jeff City," Parson wrote. "We’re doing okay but praying for those that were caught in damage, some are still trapped - local emergency crews are on site and assisting."

 

Major tornados across state tonight, including Jeff City. We’re doing okay but praying for those that were caught in damage, some are still trapped - local emergency crews are on site and assisting.

 
 
 
 

Dozens of injured people were being treated at Capitol Region Medical Center and St. Mary's Hospital on Jefferson City, KOMU reported, though details on the severity of the injuries were not available.

Meanwhile, city officials have requested help from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the report said.

Tanner Isenberger, an aide to the governor, posted video of tornado damage to the area near the headquarters of the state's Division of Employment Security.

Whoops! We couldn't access this Tweet.

News accounts and posts on social media refer to people possibly trapped in apartment complexes, gas leaks, possible damage to the Missouri Statehouse and other impacts.

The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for Cole County about 20 minutes before the twister reached Jefferson City, the News-Tribune reported. The tornado first touched ground in the Eldon and Brazito areas, the report said.

Weather Nation said emergency officials were reporting "multiple injuries & structure collapses" in the city.

 

There are reports of emergency crews in Jefferson City attempting to rescue people trapped in buildings that have collapsed. #JCMO #MidMo

 
 
 
 

Earlier in the day, some Jefferson City residents and businesses were ordered to leave as the Missouri River continued to rise after recent rains.

City officials issued a mandatory evacuation order on the north side of the river. The Missouri Statehouse building, state penitentiary and nearly all of the city's homes are on the south side of the river.

Residents of several communities in Oklahoma and Kansas also were urged to evacuate.

Jefferson City police Lt. Dave Williams told the Associated Press that only about five to 10 homes were in the mandatory evacuation area.

As a precaution, the Missouri National Guard also moved four helicopters out of the city's airport, which also is on the north side of the river. And a Memorial Day weekend airshow was canceled.

There were no immediate reports about fatalities or injuries.

Residents of the area, or those miles away who claimed ties to Jefferson City, posted messages of support on social media.

 

Prayers to anyone in Jeff City! Be careful.

 
 
 
 
 

My son and many friends in Jeff City. Praying for all. So far, everyone I know is safe. #JeffersonCity

 
 
 
 
 

Prayers to those affected in Eldon, the Lake area, and Jeff City. It’s been a wild and awful evening.

 
 
 
 
 

Growing up in mid-Missouri you kind of always laughed at tornado sirens never believing it would actually happen, tonight changed all that. Prayers for Jeff City, say what you want about that place, but it will always be home

 
 
 
 

Jefferson City lies near the center of the state, about 158 miles east of Kansas City and about 132 miles west of St. Louis.

Storms also struck other parts of Missouri on Wednesday night, with a large tornado blamed for three fatalities in the Golden City area of Barton County, the Kansas City Star reported.

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