Chris Higgins / AP
A devastating series of storms late Wednesday constituted several tornadoes that caused extensive damage to several buildings and led to at least three deaths in Missouri.
The National Weather Service confirmed that Missouri's capital Jefferson City was hit by a "violent tornado." The Tornado evoked a relentless flow of 911 calls, some of which reported serious injuries.
At least three people were killed earlier in Joplin in the southwestern state.
In Jefferson City, several buildings were damaged, including a large apartment complex. Local media reported that emergency personnel in Jefferson City were trying to save people trapped in buildings, but downward power lines made rescue difficult.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent Missouri Task Force 1, a city search and rescue team to assist in recovery efforts, reported KOMU.
At one point, the power of more than 13,000 customers in the metropolitan area with seven gas leaks was reported.
"Injury reports coming from Jefferson City are heartbreaking" KOMU meteorologist Matt Beckwith said and noted reports of people trapped in their basement. He added: "If you believe in prayer, please pray."
"Everything from dirt from a rooftop to a street, disturbed trees, we've had damage to vehicles, roof of businesses," Lt. David Williams of the Jefferson City Police Department told reporters.
"The buildings here are shattered," says KMIZ reporter Ashley Strohmier, who reports from Ellis Boulevard near Route 54. "The roofs are broken. Trees are on buildings."
– Austin MacDonald (@ AustinMacD73) May 23, 2019
"The power lines are shattered – completely crushed – Riley Chevrolet's cars up front, Strohmier continued. "It seems that their service building is completely wiped out. There is a semi-trailer turned around. "
After the storm hit" people were crying and running from the apartments and asked where their loved ones were, "she said.
Another KMIZ reporter, Sara Maslar-Donar, noted that the rear part of a day care building was "completely destroyed" and a gas station was "cracked apart." She called it "just a small sample of the destruction we see."
As per press conference at 2: 00, the police still tried to determine the extent of the damage. "Daylight will definitely help us identify areas that have been affected," said Williams.
Tornado warnings continued in Missouri throughout the evening. tonight, including Jeff City.We do okay, but pray for those caught in injury, some are still trapped – local emergency herds are on site and help.
– Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) 23 May 2019
Previously, at least three people were killed, and several were injured after a tornado touched down near Joplin, Mo., late Wednesday.
Tornado hit just north of Joplin, about 150 miles south of Kansas City. Law enforcement officials confirmed three fatalities in nearby Barton County and several injuries.
This tornado moved eight years to the day after another tornado in Joplin killed more than 150 people, injuring more than 1,000, and destroying a third of the city. It was the deadly tornado to hit the United States for more than 60 years.