(PM)- A destructive tornado touched down in Jefferson City, Missouri, on late Wednesday night.
According to the National Weather Service, “At 11:43 PM, a confirmed large and destructive tornado was observed over Jefferson City, moving northeast at 40 MPH.”
Initial reports indicate that several people are trapped in multiple buildings and that parts of the city took a ‘direct hit’ from the storm. Law enforcement and emergency personnel urged the public to stay away from the scene.
According to Russ Ptacek, scanner watchers in Jefferson City are reporting that there are ‘fatalities’ in the area. However, authorities later stated that there are no confirmed fatalities.
According to Chief Matt Lindewirth of Cole County EMS, Jefferson City hospitals have reportedly entered ‘disaster mode’, and are calling all staff back into the hospitals. A video at daybreak revealed extensive damage to the city.
KOMUNews further reports that Missouri Task Force One and FEMA have been dispatched to the scene of the disaster and are prepared to respond after ‘catastrophic damage’ occurred.
A witness speaking to KRCG news stated that the YMCA has suffered heavy damage. Additionally, the witness said that police are evacuating part of the affected area due to gas leaks.
Thousands of people are without power in Jefferson City and nearby areas, according to Ameren and Three Rivers Electric Cooperative.
Videos from the scene showed severe damage, with several structures sustaining damage and storm debris spread out across the ground.
Earlier in the day, three people were killed from severe storms in the Golden City area in Missouri.
This event comes on the eight year anniversary of the Joplin EF-5 tornado, which directly killed 158 people.