‘Mass Casualty Event’ Declared As Tornado Rips Through Missouri

tornado in missouriMoPublicSafety/Twitter/PA

A tornado has ripped through Missouri’s capital of Jefferson City, leaving a trial of devastation in its wake.

The tornado was estimated to be around half a mile wide and moving at 40mph. It hit Jefferson City just before midnight on Wednesday, May 22.

Authorities have called the incident a ‘mass casualty event’, as countless people became trapped in their homes and many buildings were irreparably damaged.

According to law enforcement in the area, three people have died as the result of another tornado that occurred earlier in the day.

The US National Weather Service for Saint Louis Missouri said on Facebook the ‘violent’ tornado ‘produced extensive damage’.

The first tornado travelled from southwest Missouri to southeast Kansas, where law enforcement confirmed ‘three fatalities in the Golden City area of Barton County and several injuries in the Carl Junction area of Jasper County’, while the second tornado ripped through Jefferson City at around midnight the same day.

Authorities in the area are responding to the destructive event, as more severe weather is expected to hit.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said on Twitter:

Troopers are in the Golden City area assisting the Barton County Sheriff’s office and other first responders following a confirmed tornado with extensive damage including injuries. More severe weather predicted.

The deaths in Kansas were reported late on Wednesday night, as the National Weather Service received multiple reports of the ‘confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado’, The Kansas City Star reports.

Some members of the public tried to capture the storm on camera:

As well as the three fatalities, there have been numerous reports of injuries. Footage from the area show many buildings destroyed by the storm.

According to reports, some debris from the city was lifted over 13,000ft into the air, and continued to fall back down 30 minutes after the storm had passed.

Power lines are down in Jefferson City, with traffic being diverted away from the most heavily affected areas, and residents advised to stay away from the damaged buildings.

Jefferson City Fire Department have deployed all their firefighters to the area to begin rescue operations, as an unknown number of people are reported to be trapped inside or under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

Authorities are expecting more extreme weather events as a result of the tornado, including flash flooding as heavy rain continues to affect the city.

Missouri governor Mike Parson tweeted:

Major tornados across state tonight, including Jeff City. We’re doing okay but praying for those that were caught in damage, some are still trapped – local emergency crews are on site and assisting.

Earlier on Wednesday, the city’s airport was evacuated due to the tornadoes, and the city’s mayor, Carrie Tergin, issued a mandatory evacuation for a number of homes.

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