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‘Violent tornado’ delivers direct hit to Missouri’s Jefferson City

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File photo. (clintspencer/iStock)(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) — Missouri’s capital, Jefferson City, is picking up the pieces early Thursday after being hit by a “violent” tornado overnight.

Tornado sirens went off in the city, with a population of about 42,000, at 11:10 p.m. on Wednesday, with the first damage in Cole County reported at about 11:38 p.m., according to Jefferson City Police Department Lt. David Williams.

Authorities said there was significant damage and “multiple” injuries, but no confirmed fatalities. Williams also said they received multiple calls of people trapped in their homes.

The National Weather Service office in St. Louis confirmed a “violent tornado” was on the ground in Jefferson City, telling people to “shelter now” at about 11:48 a.m. local time.

“We need to have people that are not affected stay out of the area,” Williams said at a 2 a.m. press conference. “Right now we have emergency personnel from all venues trying to get to the people that need our assistance the most and we can’t do that if there are citizens out trying to assess themselves and post on social media and other venues.”

Williams also said they did not need volunteers to help at this time.

Boone County Fire said it was sending its Missouri Task Force 1 — a group consisting of search-and-rescue assets, six search K-9s, two technical search managers, four structural engineers, one trauma surgeon and two medical specialists. Boone County is just north of Jefferson City.

Missouri Department of Public Safety reported “extensive damage” in Jefferson City along “Ellis Boulevard near Highway 54.”

“Major tornados across state tonight, including Jeff City,” Gov. Mike Parson tweeted. “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.”

At least seven people were killed in three states over the past two days due to the storms crossing the Plains.

Three people died Wednesday evening near Golden City, Missouri, when a tornado rumbled through Barton County. The tornado was about three hours southwest of the one that caused havoc in Jefferson City later in the evening.

Four people died on Tuesday, with one woman killed after a tornado hit her home in Iowa. Two others died in a car accident in heavy rain near Springfield, Missouri, and one woman drove around a barricade and drowned in Oklahoma.

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