Tornado hits Jefferson City, Missouri

May 23, 2019 - 3:52 am
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A "violent tornado" touched down in Jefferson City, Missouri, causing heavy damage Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

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 130 miles (209 kilometers) west of St. Louis.

No fatalities have been reported but Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams said they have received multiple calls of people being trapped in their homes.

"It's a chaotic situation right now," Williams said. "We need people who are not affected to stay out of those areas."

Williams spoke from the Cole County Sheriff's office, where debris such as insulation, roofing shingles and metal pieces lay on the ground outside the front doors.

Area hospitals have not seen an influx of patients with injuries but have 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. There have been no fatalities, she said.

Power outages are being reported in parts of the city.

"More dangerous severe weather — tornadoes and flash flooding —expected overnight," according to a tweet from Missouri Public Safety.

Austin Thomson, 25, was in the laundry room of his apartment complex to do his wash and noticed that 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 washer 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 evening, although some of those could be duplicate reporting of the same twister.

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