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‘Violent tornado’ touches down in Missouri capital

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David Lieb
/
Associated Press

  JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A “violent tornado” touched down in Jefferson City, Missouri, causing heavy damage, according to the National Weather Service, but there were no immediate reports of fatalities.

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.

Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams said around 2:15 a.m. Thursday that there were no reports of fatalities in the city 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 front doors.

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 twister.