A “violent tornado” touched down in Jefferson City, Missouri, causing heavy damage as it tore through neighbourhoods.
The National Weather Service reports that a “confirmed large and destructive tornado” was observed over Jefferson City at 11.43pm Wednesday local time, moving northeast at 64km/h.
At least three people were killed, including an eldely couple who were hurled away from their home.
In Golden City, the bodies of Kenneth Harris, 86, and his wife Opal, 83, were found 182m from their home.
So far seven peopl have died from tornados in the US Midwest.
Incredibly detailed look at Carl Junction tornado.pic.twitter.com/euPU9judCl
— Dakota Smith (@weatherdak) May 23, 2019
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.
Power outages are being reported in parts of the city.
🔊🔊SOUND ON: Hear what residents heard just moments before a large #tornado ripped through places like #Eugene and #JeffersonCity in #Missouri. Local officials are reporting extensive damage and multiple people trapped in buildings. We’ll have more details as they’re available. pic.twitter.com/nHUuXjbpbW
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) May 23, 2019
“More dangerous severe weather — tornadoes and flash flooding — expected overnight,” according to a tweet from Missouri Public Safety.
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.
In Jefferson City, the state capital, there is extensive damage along Ellis Boulevard near Highway 54. Power lines are down. Traffic is being diverted as @MSHPTrooperGHQ & local first responders go door-to-door. Consider all power lines live.
Stay out of areas with damage. #MoWx pic.twitter.com/cPWQi1tzCJ
— MO Public Safety (@MoPublicSafety) May 23, 2019
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 6.44 kilometres north of the Joplin airport.
BREAKING: We’re getting our first look at damage in #JeffersonCity. This Best Western off Highway 54 has downed power lines, tree branches and on overturned truck in its parking lot. @KOMUnews pic.twitter.com/EWXPi6rXwz
— Spencer Humphrey (@SHumphreyTV) May 23, 2019
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.
Found this on Snapchat, looks like the U-Haul Storage of Jefferson City at 311 Ellis Blvd. Extensive damage pic.twitter.com/EuCcAIlEEe
— Jeff (@jamfan40) May 23, 2019
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!!”
Another look from the scene of the storm damage at the Best Western in #JeffersonCity. It looks like a solar panel from a roof made its way down to the parking lot. @KOMUnews pic.twitter.com/I9E13Mq2Z0
— Spencer Humphrey (@SHumphreyTV) May 23, 2019
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 72 kilometres 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.