The "violent tornado" tore in the capital city of Missouri late Wednesday, causing widespread damage under the cover of darkness on the day the heavy weather was blamed around the world for three deaths and dozens of people who remained trapped in their homes.
The National Weather Service released the "Tornado Emergency" for Jefferson City shortly before midnight, when a violent twister moved around 40 mph.
"That's a life-threatening situation," he says NWS said. "Now seek refuge!"
Tornado hit during the week that saw several days of tornadoes and torrential rains in parts of the South Plain and Midwest.
"It's one thing to see a tornado video from areas that don't have a large population, but because areas like Jefferson City have been hit hard, affecting a huge number of people," said Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean. friends "Unfortunately, the video coming there is disastrous."
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The three-mile square area adopted the onslaught of rain destruction, Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams said a press conference on Thursday morning.
"It was a very chaotic and very, very bad situation early in the morning, late at night," Williams said.
Williams spoke from the sheriff's office at Cole County, where remnants, including insulation, roofing and metal pieces, lay on the ground in front of the front door. The authorities have discouraged people from starting clean-up efforts until the force is safely restored. Regional hospitals have established command centers if necessary.
Lieutenant added offices were in the process of going "door to door" as daily breaks and search and rescue effort ramp up.
Williams said no deaths had been reported in the capital yet, but 20 people were rescued by rescue personnel
"Right now it's a chaotic situation," Williams said.
Austin Thomson told the Associated Press that he was in the laundry room of his two-story apartment complex to wash himself and noticed that the wind was rising. He could see the leaves of the rain that ran down and the mast bent, then collided. The windows broke and he hovered behind the washers and dryers. After calming down, the 25-year-old went out to check for damage, and pulled a stuffed animal out of his damaged apartment for his daughter.
"It's basically one building that's basically one story," he said.
Jefferson City is close to the state center, about 158 miles east of Kansas City and about 132 miles west of St. Louis. The city has a population of about 40,000.
Missouri Department of Public Safety The State Emergency Operations Center confirmed nine patients were admitted in Jefferson City hospitals due to storm-related injuries.
The MDPS reported extensive damage along Ellis Boulevard near Highway 54 and warned of downed power lines. Authorities have warned residents that all descending lines should be considered live and should be advised to stay away from areas that have suffered severe damage.
Missouri Gov Mike Parson tweeted "major tornadoes" have been reported across the state.
"We are doing fine, but we pray for those who have been caught in the damage, some are still trapped – local crash crews are in place and helping," wrote Parson on Twitter.
The governor later added that due to damage to state buildings and power outages, he advised non-essential civil servants to stay home on Thursday.
"Throughout the state, Missouri responded quickly to the first person with strong coordination, because much of the state was dealing with extremely dangerous conditions that left people injured, trapped in homes, and tragically led to the death of three people," Parson said Thursday morning. .
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Twister, who hit Jefferson City, was one of several tornadoes that hit Missouri overnight. According to the Dean, there were at least twenty reports of tornadoes throughout the region.
"The problem is that tornadoes came when people slept," Dean said to "FOX & Friends." And that's why we're telling people to have their NOAA radios. If electricity goes out, people sleep, at least you have a way to see if there is a tornado warning in your area. "
Three deaths reported so far have come in the southwestern part of the state when a large tornado hit the Golden City area of Barton County.
Another twister touched several miles off Joplin – exactly eight years into the day when the EF-5 tornado hit the city, killing 158 people and leaving more than 1,000 injured.
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The strong weather was expected to continue on Thursday when it stormed east. The forecast at the Storm Prediction Center said parts of the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic can see tornadoes, hail and strong winds.
"On the heels of harmful tornadoes overnight, the boundaries stretching from the plains across the Midwest and the Northeast will focus on the harder weather today and today," said Dean. "We're going to follow two areas – the inner northeast and the north central Atlantic, as well as a new round of storms from the Texas Panhandle through western Oklahoma to Kansas. Big hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are possible across both regions."
Storms and torrential rains ravaged the Midwest, from Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. The authorities urged the residents of several small towns in Oklahoma and Kansas to leave their homes as rivers and streams grew.
The deaths of this week's storms include a 74-year-old woman found early Wednesday morning in Iowa. Officials say she was killed by a possible tornado that damaged the farm in Adair County. Missouri authorities said heavy rain was a factor that contributed to the death of two people in a car accident on Tuesday at Springfield.
The fourth weather-related death could have occurred in Oklahoma, where a highway patrol said the woman apparently drowned after riding around a barricade on Tuesday near Perkins, about 45 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. An unknown female body was sent to a state medical office to confirm the cause of death. Oklahoma Emergency Management Spokesperson Keli Cain said she is not yet listed as what would be the first storm-related death.
Fox News and Dom Calicchio and the Associated Press contributed to this report.