Jefferson City Ravaged By Tornado; 3 Killed In Joplin, Mo. - NPR

Jefferson City Ravaged By Tornado; 3 Killed In Joplin, Mo. - NPR

This still image taken from video provided by Chris Higgins shows a tornado on Wednesday in Carl Junction, Mo. The tornado caused some damage in the town of Carl Junction, about 4 miles north of the Joplin airport. Chris Higgins/AP hide caption

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Chris Higgins/AP

This still image taken from video provided by Chris Higgins shows a tornado on Wednesday in Carl Junction, Mo. The tornado caused some damage in the town of Carl Junction, about 4 miles north of the Joplin airport.

Chris Higgins/AP

A devastating series of storms late Wednesday spawned multiple 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 prompted an unrelenting stream of 911 calls, with some reporting serious injuries.

At least three people were killed earlier in Joplin, in the southwest of the state.

In Jefferson City, multiple buildings were damaged, including a large apartment complex. Local media reported that emergency crews in Jefferson City were attempting to rescue people trapped in buildings, but downed power lines were making rescue difficult.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent Missouri Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue team, to assist with recovery efforts, reported.

"We're doing okay but praying for those that were caught in damage," Gov. Mike Parson . "Some are still trapped."

At one point power was out for more than 13,000 customers in the metro area, with seven gas leaks reported.

"Damage reports coming in from Jefferson City are heartbreaking," KOMU meteorologist Matt Beckwith , noting reports of people trapped in their basement. He added: "If you believe in prayer please pray."

"Everything from debris from a rooftop into a street, uprooted trees, we've had damage to vehicles, roofs of businesses," Lt. David Williams of the Jefferson City Police Department told reporters.

"The buildings here are crushed," reporter Ashley Strohmier said, reporting from Ellis Boulevard near Route 54. "Roofs are collapsed. Trees are on buildings."

"The power lines have crushed — absolutely crushed — Riley Chevrolet's cars up front," Strohmier continued. "It looks like their service building is completely wiped out. There is a semi truck that is flipped over."

After the storm hit, "people were crying and running from the apartments, asking where their loved ones were," she said.

Another KMIZ reporter, Sara Maslar-Donar, noted that the back part of a daycare building was "completely destroyed" and a gas station was "ripped apart." She called it "just a small sampling of the devastation that we're seeing."

As of the 2 a.m. CDT press conference, police were still trying to determine the extent of the damage. "Daylight will definitely help us identify areas that have been affected," Williams said.

Tornado warnings continued in Missouri throughout the evening.

Earlier, at least three people were killed and several injured after a tornado touched down near Joplin, Mo., late Wednesday.

The tornado hit just north of Joplin, about 150 miles south of Kansas City. Law enforcement officials three fatalities in nearby Barton County, as well as several injuries.

This tornado touched down eight years to the day after in Joplin killed more than 150 people, injured more than 1,000, and destroyed a third of the city. That was the deadliest tornado to hit the U.S. in more than 60 years.