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Violent tornado hits Jefferson City, Mo.: 'A lot of devastation,' mayor says

Kaitlyn Schwers, Steve Vockrodt and Judy Thomas, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Weather News

A "large and destructive tornado" hit Jefferson City shortly before midnight Wednesday, cutting a swath of damage through part of the state capital, according to authorities.

The violent tornado was confirmed over the city at 11:43 p.m., moving northeast at 40 mph., according to the National Weather Service.

By 12:52 a.m. Thursday the storm had left extensive damage along Ellis Boulevard near U.S. 54, the Missouri Department of Public Safety reported on Twitter.

Jefferson City Police Department Lt. David Williams said during a televised briefing Thursday morning that there were no confirmed deaths, although he said there had been reports of injuries.

Williams said there were no confirmed reports of collapsed buildings. There have been several reports of damage to homes and businesses. The damage corridor appeared to extend along the south side of Jefferson City along Ellis Boulevard, Highway 54 and Stadium Boulevard, according to Williams.

"We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and that we didn't have more fatalities across the state," Gov. Mike Parsons said during a press conference later in the morning.

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Jefferson City police and other law enforcement were conducting door-to-door residential and business check to make sure no one was trapped or needed immediate medical attention. Crews also will evaluate the extent of the damage.

The first emergency sirens were activated in Jefferson City at 11:10 p.m. and a storm rotation was spotted 20 minutes later, Williams said. The first reports of damage within Cole County occurred at 11:38 p.m. Tornado sirens were re-activated at 11:40 p.m. and emergency personnel first received reports of damage in the city at 11:47 p.m., Williams said.

Power lines were down and first responders were going door to door. Traffic was being diverted.

Officials advised the public to treat all downed power lines as live and to stay out of areas with damage.

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