Three people were killed and more than 20 injured in an “extremely dangerous” storm that sent tornadoes ripping across Missouri late Wednesday.
Though much of the damage from the powerful tornado hit the state’s capital of Jefferson City, the three fatalities were reported in the small town of Golden City about 170 miles away, Gov. Mike Parson said at a press conference.
“Unfortunately, we’re still assessing damage this morning,” he said. “Those are the only three we know at this time. As far as I know, there’s nobody missing [across the state], which is a good sign, [but] there’s gonna be multiple injuries. You got 20 right here in Jefferson City.”
Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams said at the same press conference that a three-mile-square in the capital city had received the brunt of the damage from the storm, and that emergency sirens were first activated at 11:10 p.m. local time on Wednesday night.
According to Parson, many of the state facilities in Jefferson City were damaged.
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.— MO Public Safety (@MoPublicSafety) May 23, 2019
Stay out of areas with damage. #MoWx pic.twitter.com/cPWQi1tzCJ
The Jefferson City Fire Department wrote on Facebook early Thursday morning it had called back all firefighters to begin rescue operations.
Photos shared to Twitter by Missouri Public Safety show “extensive” damage along Ellis Boulevard near Highway 54, with downed power lines and collapsed signs littered throughout.
“Please do not travel into areas impacted by the severe storms! You’ll delay the work of first responders and utility crews, and slow efforts to clear debris,” the agency wrote. “You might also wind up with a flat tire or two.”
Please do not travel into areas impacted by the severe storms! You'll delay the work of first responders and utility crews, and slow efforts to clear debris. You might also wind up with a flat tire or two. And we've just witnessed a crash due to rubbernecking in Jefferson City! https://t.co/94VfzwrM1w— MO Public Safety (@MoPublicSafety) May 23, 2019
Though no people have been reported missing so far, Williams said authorities would be going door-to-door in affected areas to ensure all residents are accounted for.
The National Weather Service had repeatedly encouraged all residents to seek shelter as “violent” tornadoes headed their way.
RELATED VIDEO: 23 Dead After Powerful Tornado Rips Through Southeast Alabama: ‘The Devastation Is Incredible’
“It sounds as if the injuries have been few, which is truly amazing considering the extent of the damage,” Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin told CNN.
According to the National Weather Service, at least 29 tornadoes have been reported over the past 24 hours, with debris being sent as high as 13,000 feet into the air.