- Three people were confirmed dead in western Missouri as storms swept through the state Wednesday.
- The Missouri Department of Public Safety issued an alert at 11:48 p.m. local time warning of a violent tornado near the state’s capital, Jefferson City, and urging people to seek shelter.
At least three people are dead after strong storms swept through Missouri on Wednesday, including a tornado that hit the state’s capital, Jefferson City.
Law enforcement confirmed that three people were killed in Barton County on the Kansas border, while several injuries were reported in the neighbouring Jasper County.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety issued an alert at 11:48 p.m. local time warning of a violent tornado near Jefferson City, in central Missouri, and urging people to seek shelter.
The storm devastated neighbourhoods, overturning trees, poles, and cars, witnesses told CNN.
A man named David Bell told CNN he pulled over on the side of a highway after receiving a weather alert that a tornado was coming his way.
“I don’t even know how to explain it,” he said. “I watched a bunch of transformers blown. Houses next to me completely obliterated. A house halfway underneath my trailer.”
Eric Cunningham, another man interviewed by CNN, had to take shelter in his basement.
“Several structures have damage, roofs torn off houses, trees and power lines down,” he said. “Basically a war zone.”
Another witness, Chris Higgins, shared a video recorded in Carl Junction, in Jasper County, on Facebook that showed funnel clouds.
Lt. David Williams of the Jefferson City police discouraged people from cleaning up the damage until power was safely running again, according to the Associated Press. Authorities will conduct door-to-door checks to make sure no one is missing, he said.
“It’s a chaotic situation right now,” Williams said.
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 pic.twitter.com/cPWQi1tzCJ
— MO Public Safety (@MoPublicSafety) May 23, 2019
Several storms with torrential rain swept through the Midwest this week. CNN cited the National Weather Service as saying that at least 29 tornadoes were reported in a 24-hour period, most of them in Missouri and Oklahoma.
Mayor Carrie Tergin of Jefferson City told NBC News the damage from the event was “devastating.”
The Jefferson City Fire Department said on Facebook that all its firefighters were called in for rescue operations.
“Please Pray for our Citizens,” it wrote.
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