FIRST ACCOUNT: "It looks like a war zone" | news


(CNN) – A tornado struck the capital of Missouri as people slept late Wednesday night – part of a deadly spring storm system that devastated the central United States in recent days, triggering chauvinism, torrential rain, sudden floods and hailstorm.

More than 150 miles southwest of Jefferson City, the storm killed at least three people last Wednesday in Golden City, Missouri.

At least 29 tornadoes have been reported in the last 24 hours, mostly in Missouri and Oklahoma, the National Weather Service reported. A total of 171 have been reported since Friday.

In Jefferson City, the tornado funnel was wider than its height, and hit just before midnight on Wednesday, sending debris up to 13,000 feet high in the air, the weather service said.

"When it hit … it seemed like an earthquake," said Cindy Sandoval-Jakobsen.

No deaths were reported on Thursday morning, said Jefferson City police spokesman Lieutenant David Williams. At least nine people were transported to hospitals in the city area, said the spokesman for the Missouri Public Security Department, Mike O & # 39; Connell, on Thursday.

"Big state tornadoes tonight, including Jeff City," Mike Parsons, governor of Missouri, tweeted. "We are going well, but we pray for those who have been injured, some are still trapped – local emergency workers are on site and assist."

The danger continues for the region on Thursday. Tornadoes could pose threats today from Lubbock, Texas, Kansas City and from Columbus, Ohio, to Philadelphia, according to CNN meteorologist Haley Brink.

Witnesses describe harrowing scenes

Trees and poles have been broken and thrown like toys. The cars were overturned at a local dealer.

"Several structures are damaged, roofs have been torn from houses, trees and power lines. Basically a war zone," said Eric Cunningham, who took refuge in his basement.

David Bell noticed that a tornado was heading towards him, forcing him to pull his truck over the edge of the highway. Around him, the houses collapsed and the transformers died out.

His windshield shattered and a part of a house was thrown under his trailer, he said.

"I don't even know how to explain it," he said. "I saw a group of transformers blowing up, the houses near me completely erased, a house halfway under my trailer."

Tornado throughout the state

Golden City launched search and rescue missions after a possible tornado. Another tornado struck near Joplin the eighth anniversary of an EF5 tornado that killed 161 people in that city.

According to the radar images, the tornado passed several miles north of Joplin.

In Missouri, a husband and wife were killed Tuesday when their SUV slipped through the central lines of US Highway 160 and hit a seed.

Floods in Tulsa

The storm was not limited to tornadoes. Tulsa police in Oklahoma asked neighborhoods near a dam to leave in the event of flooding in the area due to the release of water intended to prevent the structure.

The Army Corps of Engineers is releasing 215,000 cubic feet of water per second in the Keystone Lake Dam because the water is 29 feet above its normal level.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum tweeted that 215,000 cfs are the minimum rate they can release to maintain water in the cataracts cover. If the cataracts don't work, the dam could fail, Bynum said.

While that dam is located about 20 miles from the city, authorities in Tulsa have told people they are ready to leave their homes quickly if the situation deteriorates.

At least one person drowned in Oklahoma after driving around a barricade on a street in Perkins, announced the city emergency management office.

Flood risks

The storms have repeatedly hit the same areas recently, making the plains and the Midwest more vulnerable to flooding.

The severe flooding of the river – including along the already inflated Mississippi river – is expected in the central United States, as rain will fall more in the region in the coming days.

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