Missouri’s governor says a major tornado has struck Jefferson City, and rescue efforts continue on this Thursday morning as firefighters search an apartment building near Highway 54.
Jefferson City Police Lieutenant David Williams briefed reporters during an overnight news conference.
“Right now we have no confirmations of any fatalities related to this storm, however, we have identified several people that are injured as a result of this,” Williams says.
Jefferson City Police say 20 people have been transported by EMS to local hospitals for storm-related injuries.
A gas station, a Sonic drive-in and the Jefferson City School District’s Simonson Ninth Grade Center have all been struck by the apparent tornado.
Williams is urging those who are not impacted by the tornado to stay out of the damaged areas.
“The primary place right now we’re concentrating our efforts on is the Ellis Boulevard area near Highway 54, as well as Stadium and on Dunklin,” says Williams.
The Boone County Fire District says 80 members of Missouri Task Force One are in or heading to Jefferson City. They include rescue squads, a trauma surgeon, two medical specialists and two hazmat technicians.
The Boone County Fire District describes the storm as a “significant tornado.”
Jefferson City Police plan another media briefing at 6 a.m.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson plans to speak at that briefing, to express his appreciation for Missouri first responders and for citizens who aided their neighbors.
Governor Parson has also announced that non-essential state employees in the Jefferson City area should NOT report to work this morning, with many buildings and areas being compromised. More than 14,000 state employees work in Cole County, making state government the largest employer in Jefferson City.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in St. Louis is expected to send survey teams to Jefferson City on Thursday to examine the damage.
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