Live Updates: Multiple Tornadoes Rip Across Mid-Missouri
This story will be updated.
The National Weather Service has designated the tornado in Jefferson City as a maximum EF-3, on a scale of five.
At an 11am press conference Jefferson City Police Lieutenant David Williams said the city has sustained "significant infrastructure damage."
The number of injured stands at about two dozen people, lower than would be expected given the storm and tornado damage sustained by the area. Crews are still clearing debris and navigating city streets, and Williams said there are no reported missing at this time.
Williams said the police department is working with numerous state and local agencies including SEMA, FEMA, the United Way, and the American Red Cross.
He called the coordination "awesome."
"From the time we got the original calls this morning, we have had nothing but coorperation from not just our citizens, but other agencies here, law enforcement, other governmental agencies, volunteer agencies," said Williams. "The Red Cross was there very early on in this process - they helped shelter people before we even knew how many people we were going to have. So I think the cooperation from the community's been great."
American Red Cross, MU Respond With Shelters, Assistance
The American Red Cross has opened three shelters in the Jefferson City area providing food, water, emotional support and accommodations for individuals and families affected by the storms and tornado damage. Two of the shelters are located in Eldon, at Upper Elementary School, 407 E. 15th St., and the Eldon Community Center at 309 E. 2nd St. A third Red Cross shelter is open at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, 1201 Fairgrounds Road, in Jefferson City.
Missouri Red Cross spokesperson Sharon Watson said numbers are fluctuating but about 100 people have utilized the shelters, which are expected to remain open as long as needed.
"Anyone is welcome to come there to find relief in the interim as they're trying to determine their next steps in the process," said Watson.
More information about Red Cross shelters and how to make donations or volunteer is at 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or at the Red Cross website.
MU officials said the MU Police Department has seven officers assisting with response efforts in Jefferson City, and that MU Residential Life is offering housing assistance. Those in need of housing can call 573.882.7275.
MU Extension Community Emergency Management Program Director Conne Burnham said extension offices in the Jefferson City area have been impacted by the storms and shut down, but that extension personnel would be helping to coordinate volunteers and assist their efforts in the coming days.
UPDATED 6:30 A.M.
Multiple tornadoes tore through central Missouri last night with one violent system destroying parts of Jefferson City.
The tornado touched down in Jefferson City around 11:45 p.m. Officials report damage to buildings, homes, trees and cars. Multiple injuries have been reported, but no fatalities yet.
Earlier this morning, Lt. David Williams with the Jefferson City Police department told reporters, first responders and officials are trying to assess how much damage has been done.
“We have members from MoDot helping us clear debris from the roadway - Cole County Public Works, Jeff City Public Works- there are agencies all over that are trying to help us," Williams said. "But Right now what we need is for everyone to stay out of the area unless they live in that area.”
Williams said authorities have received reports of people being trapped in their homes.
Williams said police officers estimate a three-square mile area of damage.
In the early morning hours, more than 6,000 customers in Cole County were still without of power, and 4,600 were out in Miller County. Several other tornadoes were reported near Moberly and Hallsville.
Jefferson City police officials say the warning siren was activated at 11:10 p.m. They received a report about rotational activity of the storm at 11:30 p.m. with first damage inside Cole County reported at 11:39 p.m. The sirens were activated again at 11:40 p.m. with subsequent damage in Jefferson City at 11:46 p.m.
A number on the Fujita scale which measures tornado intensity from F-0 to F-5 has not been assigned yet.
Gov. Mike Parson confirmed that three people in southwest Missouri have died as a result of a tornado.
Flooding risks are still a concern over the next few days as the National Weather Service is predicting more storms throughout the weekend.