3 Deaths in MO as Tornado Hits Capital 05/23 06:09
A "violent tornado" touched down in Jefferson City, causing heavy damage in
Missouri's capital city as severe weather swept across the state overnight,
causing three deaths and leaving many people trapped in the wreckage of their
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A "violent tornado" touched down in Jefferson
City, causing heavy damage in Missouri's capital city as severe weather swept
across the state overnight, causing three deaths and leaving many people
trapped in the wreckage of their homes.
The service reported that a "confirmed large and destructive tornado" was
observed over Jefferson City at 11:43 p.m. Wednesday, moving northeast at 40
mph (64 kph). The capital city has a population of about 40,000 and is located
about 130 miles (209 kilometers) west of St. Louis.
"Across the state, Missouri's first responders once again responded quickly
and with strong coordination as much of the state dealt with extremely
dangerous conditions that left people injured, trapped in homes, and tragically
led to the death of three people," Governor Mike Parson said. "I want our
responders and all the neighbors who acted selflessly to help their neighbors
to know how much their heroic efforts are appreciated by all Missourians."
Missouri Public Safety confirmed in a tweet that three people were killed in
the Golden City area of Barton County, and several injured in the Carl Junction
area of Jasper County
Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams said around 2:15 a.m. Thursday that
there were no reports of fatalities in the capital, but authorities had
received multiple calls of people being trapped in homes. The tornado hit
during a week that has seen several days of tornadoes and torrential rains in
parts of the Southern Plains and Midwest.
"It's a chaotic situation right now," Williams said.
Williams spoke from the Cole County Sheriff's office, where debris including
insulation, roofing shingles and metal pieces lay on the ground outside the
Area hospitals did not see an immediate influx of patients but set up
command centers in case the need arises.
"We have four patients with minor injuries," said Jessica Royston,
spokeswoman at St. Mary's Health Center.
Power outages were reported in parts of the city.
Missouri Public Safety tweeted that there was a possibility of more
tornadoes and flash flooding.
Austin Thomson, 25, was in the laundry room of his apartment complex to do
his wash and noticed the wind started picking up. He saw sheets of rain coming
down and a flagpole bend and then slam to the ground. The windows broke and he
dove behind the washers and dryers.
After it calmed down, he walked outside to check the damage.
"There's basically one building that's basically one story now. Every
building there is two stories."
The National Weather Service said it had received 22 reports of tornadoes by
late Wednesday, although some of those could be duplicate reporting of the same
One tornado skirted just a few miles north of Joplin, Missouri, on the
eighth anniversary of a catastrophic tornado that killed 161 people in the
city. The tornado caused some damage in the town of Carl Junction, about 4
miles (6.44 kilometers) north of the Joplin airport.
Storms and torrential rains have ravaged the Midwest, from Texas through
Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.
Two barges broke loose and floated swiftly down the swollen Arkansas River
in eastern Oklahoma on Wednesday, spreading alarm downstream as they threatened
to hit a dam.
Authorities urged residents of several small towns in Oklahoma and Kansas to
leave their homes as rivers and streams rose.
The Arkansas River town of Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, was one such town. Town
officials ordered a mandatory evacuation Wednesday afternoon because of the
river's rising level.
But Wednesday evening, a posting on the town's official Facebook page
sounded the alarm about the runaway barges for its 600 residents: "Evacuate
Webbers Falls immediately. The barges are loose and has the potential to hit
the lock and dam 16. If the dam breaks, it will be catastrophic!! Leave now!!"
There was no word by midnight Wednesday where the barges were on the river,
but local television stations showing live video of the river and the lock and
dam said they had not yet arrived.
The Arkansas River was approaching historic highs, while the already high
Missouri and Mississippi Rivers were again rising after a multi-day stretch of
storms that produced dozens of tornadoes. Forecasters predicted parts of
Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas could see more severe weather on Thursday.
Deaths from this week's storms include a 74-year-old woman found early
Wednesday morning in Iowa. Officials there say she was killed by a possible
tornado that damaged a farmstead in Adair County. Missouri authorities said
heavy rain was a contributing factor in the deaths of two people in a traffic
accident Tuesday near Springfield.
A fourth weather-related death may have occurred in Oklahoma, where the
Highway Patrol said a woman apparently drowned after driving around a barricade
Tuesday near Perkins, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) northeast of Oklahoma
City. The unidentified woman's body was sent to the state medical examiner's
office to confirm the cause of death. Oklahoma Department of Emergency
Management spokeswoman Keli Cain said she isn't yet listed as what would be the
state's first storm-related death.