(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) — Missouri rescuers are surveying damage and searching homes after a “violent” tornado hit late Wednesday night and into early Thursday morning, killing three people.
The three victims “lived on the outskirts of Golden City,” which is about 170 miles southwest of Jefferson City, the state’s capital, Gov. Mike Parson said at a news conference.
“Those are the only three [fatalities] we know of at this time,” Parson said. “There’s nobody missing that we know of … that’s a good thing.”
“You never know what this weather is going to do,” Parson said.
“We were very fortunate last night that we didn’t have more injuries than we did, and we’re very thankful that we didn’t have any more fatalities than we did,” he said.
As storms crossed the Plains, at least seven people were killed in three states over the past two days.
Four people died on Tuesday, including one woman killed after a tornado hit her home in Iowa. Two others died in a car accident in heavy rain near Springfield, Mo., and one woman drove around a barricade and drowned in Oklahoma.
Jefferson City, Mo., was among the worst-hit areas as the capital took a direct hit from what the National Weather Service called a “violent” tornado Wednesday night.
No fatalities or missing persons were reported in the capital, but 20 people in the area were transported to hospitals to treat injuries, said officials.
“There was a lot of debris flying, we had trees [flying],” said Jefferson City Police Department Lt. David Williams, describing what caused the injuries. “At this point, nothing in the serious [injury] declaration, as I’ve been told by emergency services.”
Tornado sirens went off in the city, which has a population of about 42,000, at 11:10 p.m. on Wednesday, and the first damage in Cole County was reported at about 11:38 p.m., according to Jefferson City Police Department Lt. David Williams.
Williams also said they had received multiple calls of people trapped in their homes.
“We realize that we still have a lot of things we have to do,” Williams said at a news conference Thursday morning.
Searches were ongoing in Jefferson City mid-day Thursday, as was the flooding threat. Levees may be at their max at about 1 p.m. local time, warned Williams.
Parson said that due to damage sustained by some state buildings in Jefferson City, only essential state employees are being asked to report for work Thursday. Others are being urged to stay at home.
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