A deadly tornado outbreak hit several parts of Missouri in the late-night hours of Wednesday. A large tornado ripped through Jefferson City, the capital, late Wednesday night around 11:45 pm CDT.
Jefferson City Police have confirmed that at least 20 people were transported to local hospitals. The tornado in Jefferson City was given a rating of EF3 on Thursday afternoon, which means it had a peak wind speed of 160 mph.
In addition to tornadoes, storms brought flash flooding and damaging hail larger than golf balls.
Tornadoes Caused Destruction in Several Areas
Jefferson City wasn’t the only place in Missouri to feel the effects. The National Weather Service in St. Louis issued a tornado emergency after a violent tornado on the ground was confirmed. First responders worked through the night and into the early hours of Thursday, to undertake search and rescue efforts for people who might be trapped in damaged or collapsed buildings.
Storms were deadly in Golden City, Missouri. A tornado moved across the region Wednesday evening, tracked from Ottawa County in Oklahoma, into Bexter Springs and Galena in Kansas, and then moved into Carl Junction, Oronogo, and Golden City, Missouri. Three people in Golden City, Missouri were killed.
Victims Killed in Storms Have Been Identified
The bodies of Kenneth Harris, 86, and his wife Opal, 83, were killed in the storm, and their bodies were found about 200 yards away from their home. West of Golden City, Betty Berg, 56, was killed when her manufactured home was destroyed by the storm. Her husband Mark was seriously injured, but survived.
Response From Missouri Governor Parson
Missouri Governor Mike Parson had previously declared a state of emergency earlier in the week, due to repeated rounds of severe weather and the ongoing threat of flooding across the region earlier this week. Nearly 60 tornadoes, drenching rain, and flash flooding caused at least 4 fatalities and several more injuries.
“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,” Parson said during a press conference on Thursday morning.
Parson also confirmed that there has been damage to state buildings, and the power was knocked out in some areas. The Red Cross has opened a shelter in Jefferson City at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.