Jefferson City Tornado Damage, Rescues: PHOTOS

jefferson city tornado damage

MO Public Safety Jefferson City tornado damage.

Jefferson City, Missouri was struck by a violent tornado just before midnight, and there were reports of people trapped in an apartment complex, homes, and elsewhere. However, in their first news conference, police said there were no confirmed fatalities in the Jefferson City limits, despite multiple injury reports.

“There are erroneous reports that 100 people are hospitalized in Jefferson City due to the tornado. The State Emergency Operations Center has confirmed nine patients at Jefferson City hospitals due to storm-related injuries,” Missouri public safety reported, adding that some state buildings were damaged. CNN later reported that the injury figure was 20.

Photos captured the damage as daylight hit.

Scanner traffic indicated that rescues were underway, with injuries and significant damage throughout the city. There were reports of hotel damage and roofs torn off as urgent calls filled the scanner, and fire officials implored people to “pray for our citizens.”

There were three deaths elsewhere in Missouri from the massive weather system. The governor said Thursday morning that at least 20 people were injured statewide, but no one was injured.

“I don’t know if they have major structural damage, but there is a lot of damage to a lot of facilities here in Jefferson City,” Parson said.

The twister which hit the Missouri capital is one of 171 to strike the United States since Friday, most in Missouri and Oklahoma, the National Weather Service says. The destructive twister moved northeast at 40 mph, AP reported. A state track meet has been postponed.

Thankfully, though, police said after 2 a.m. that there were no confirmed fatalities in Jefferson City at that time. Lt. David Williams told journalists that there were multiple injury reports, though. “It’s a chaotic situation right now,” Williams said. Authorities later gave the nine figure.

“Right now we have no confirmation of any fatalities related to this storm. We have identified several people who are injured because of this,” he said. “We are receiving multiple calls of people trapped in their homes…we do have debris on some homes.” He said it was too early to say how many injuries there were, but he said there were multiple injury calls.

The first rotation from the wedge tornado was reported at 11:30 p.m. on May 22, 2019. Damage was reported by 11:37. Inside the city limits, damage calls came in starting at 11:47 p.m. “Everything from debris from a rooftop into the street, uprooted trees, damage to vehicles, roofs of businesses,” Williams said. “There are several businesses…we are trying to assess how much damage there is to the buildings. There are no reported structural damage as far as buildings collapsing, but it’s early to say.”

Photos and videos showed severe structural damage, with felled trees and power lines abundant. However, authorities said in their first press conference that no buildings collapsed.

“At this time we are still trying to determine how much damage we have,” Williams said. “We are still working very hard to determine any injured people…we need to have people who are not affected stay out of the area.” Law enforcement personnel from surrounding areas were coming to help. “We are try to identify locations for the displaced citizens.”

At 11:10 p.m., sirens went off. Soon after, wind damage was reported. “Ellis Boulevard area…as well as Stadium and Dunklin,” he said, describing the focus. Debris was being cleared from the roadway, said Williams.

There were three tornado deaths near Golden City, though.

“Across the state, Missouri’s first responders once again responded quickly and with strong coordination as much of the state dealt with extremely dangerous conditions that left people injured, trapped in homes, and tragically led to the death of three people,” the governor said.

“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,” Gov. Mike Parson wrote on Twitter. Two hours after the twister hit, rescuers were still going painstakingly through the city of more than 42,000 people, clearing buildings.

Authorities described some citizens as the “walking wounded” on the scanner. Hospitals entered “disaster mode.”

Firefighters were marking cleared buildings and areas with fire line tape.

“All a large tornado has hit parts of Jefferson City,” the Jefferson City Fire Department wrote on Facebook. “All Jefferson City Firefighters have been called back and are beginning rescue operations. Please Pray for our Citizens.” People were trapped in elevators around 1 a.m.

“We have freed a man… heavy damage, lines down, trees down,” a rescuer said in one of many urgent dispatches on the scanner. “We have heavy damage here as well,” said another. “I need all personnel you can get a hold of,” a third rescuer said on the scanner. Rescuers were calling for “all units available.”

You can listen to live scanner audio here. “We have a confirmed injury,” yet another rescuer said at one point. “An elderly lady is trapped upstairs,” called in another. “We are evacuating people from a collapsed building,” came yet another urgent report from a rescuer in the live scanner audio. That was around 12:49 a.m.

“Damage in Jefferson City is reported as catastrophic. Reports of mutual aid response, for fire and ems being requested ASAP to assist,” journalist Sara Dayley reported. “Please AVOID ALL TRAVEL into or out of Jefferson City right now! Significant Damage to Power Lines, Trees, Structures. There is debris ALL over the place. Now getting reports of a Structure Fire #MOwx #Missouri,” explained James Sinko, a Weather Channel meteorologist. He shared this unconfirmed photo:

Here’s what you need to know:

There Were Reports Of Damage to Hotels in Jefferson City

One scanner dispatch said an ambulance was needed at the Best Western hotel. Photos and videos are being added to this article, along with the latest details, as they unfold. This was a breaking news situation with fluid activity on the ground just after midnight.

People were being “extricated” from areas, scanner traffic indicated. Homeowners were reporting seeing sparks. A woman reported her mother was unable to breathe and her oxygen was off as the frightening calls added up. There was a report on the scanner of a woman possibly needing a leg amputation.

Over 11,000 were reportedly without power. The Jefferson City News Tribune reported that traffic lights weren’t working in some areas.

The number of injuries – and whether there are deaths – from the Jefferson City tornado was not yet clear. Authorities were setting up a central command post.

The scanner dispatches captured a flurry of activity. People were trapped in a hotel elevator. A person had a broken leg. And so forth. There were “multiple lines down,” and rescue personnel were trying to access areas of the city, according to the scanner dispatches.

There were reports of gas leaks and authorities were looking for people trapped. Be aware that some scanner reports and early information can change or even be wrong in fast-moving tragedies.

However, the scanner traffic made it clear that the weather had caused damage and trapped people. “Multiple lines down. Let’s focus on injured patients trapped at this point,” a dispatcher said.

Several heavy equipment operators were being requested by rescue personnel.

“MISSOURI: Large and destructive tornado over Jefferson City, moving northeast at 40 mph. TORNADO EMERGENCY for Jefferson City. Take cover now!” came the urgent alert before the tornado hit.

Radar showed the danger.

This story is being updated as more information is learned about the Jefferson City tornado impact.