According to the National Weather Service, violent tornadoes touched down in the capital of Missouri overnight, causing catastrophic damage.
Cluster of Storms Produced Multiple Tornadoes
The twister was part of a severe storm cell that struck the region on Wednesday night. The cluster of storms not only produced multiple tornadoes, but also flash flooding, golf ball-sized hail, and damaging winds.
Since Friday, 171 tornadoes have been reported in the central United States – primarily in Oklahoma and Missouri. And the region isn’t out of the woods yet, either. The threat of severe weather persists through Thursday and Friday as well.
Late Wednesday, Jefferson City was directly hit by a “large and destructive” tornado, as it was described by emergency alerts. Debris now litters parts of the capital, as residents struggle to grasp the complete magnitude of the damages.
“Many, many buildings have significant damage, and there’s a lot of buildings that have small damage as well. It’s very widespread,” Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin told CNN.
“When it hit … it felt like an earthquake,” said resident Cindy Sandoval-Jakobsen of the wedge tornado that tore through the capital. Another resident, Eric Cunningham, described the aftermath as being like “a war zone.”
There have been no confirmed deaths in the capital as of Thursday morning. However, three people were killed in another tornado that hit Golden City earlier that evening.
This devastating storm, however, comes on the 8 years anniversary of an EF-5 tornado hitting Joplin, Missouri. In that instance, 161 lives were lost.
Many folks became trapped in their homes during the storms. As of early Wednesday morning, authorities had reportedly rescued and transported at least 20 people to nearby hospitals.
Several residents of the Hawthorne Apartment complex also became trapped after their building suffered major damages. Rescue workers were not immediately able to access the apartments due to a collapsed building blocking their way.
Some conflicting reports put the number of people hospitalized at 100 or more. However, the Missouri Public Safety Twitter account since clarified that there were 9 storm-injured patients in local hospitals as of 4:55 a.m. CDT. The number is likely to increase, however, as the day goes on.
Additionally, according to The Daily Mail, there have been several uncorroborated reports of residents hearing the term “mass casualties” over their emergency scanners.
Firefighters, along with assistance from Missouri Task Force 1, are continuing rescue operations throughout the day.