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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: The National Weather Service has a team on the ground in Jefferson City evaluating damage from a Wednesday night tornado.
Jefferson City Police Department Lt. David Williams said weather service personnel were working with local authorities late Thursday morning to determine the strength of a tornado that tore a path through the city.
Williams said the number of injured had increased from about 20 earlier in the day to anywhere from two to three dozen people. Close to 100 people were staying in three shelters in Jefferson City.
Ameren Missouri President Michael Moehn said about 200 Ameren workers were in Jefferson City to restore power and gas service and another 50 were in Eldon.
Moehn said the utility hoped to have all service restored in Eldon later Thursday and to Jefferson City by Saturday.
10:52 a.m.: The Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 3-5 Track and Field championships will be held Saturday in three separate locations after a tornado damaged facilities in Jefferson City.
MSHSAA director Kerwin Urhahn said Class 3 will compete at the University of Missouri, Class 4 will compete at Washington High School and Class 5 will compete at Battle High School.
9:40 a.m.: Lincoln University President Jerald Woolfolk was home when a tornado damaged the president’s residence in Jefferson City but hid safely from the storm in the basement.
Lincoln spokeswoman Misty Young said the main campus has damage to some doors and windows along with tree limbs and debris on the ground. The president’s house suffered extensive damage, but Woolfolk took shelter in the basement and was unharmed, Young wrote in an email.
The historic home is uninhabitable.
UPDATE 8:15 a.m.: A volunteer reception center will be set up at Capital Mall in Jefferson City, officials said at an emergency city council meeting Thursday.
Right now there is no need for volunteers but the reception center will be set up in case they’re needed.
City buses are not running on normal routes Thursday but are being used to help take people to shelters. The American Red Cross is operating a shelter at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
UPDATE 8:04 a.m.: MSHSAA officials are determining what to do about the State Track Meet that was set to take place in Jefferson City this weekend. They’ll update with more information.
BREAKING: Per JCPS - they are not planning on hosting Class 3, 4 and 5 state track this weekend at Jefferson City HS.
— Andrew Kauffman (@AndrewABC17) May 23, 2019
UPDATE 7:15 a.m.: Gov. Mike Parson visited first responders in the tornado-damaged section of Jefferson City on Thursday morning. Video of the visit and an interview with Ashley Strohmier are in the player below.
The Missouri Department of Transportation reports several state roads in the city are closed because of debris. The Highway 50 eastbound ramp to Lafayette Street, the Highway 54 east ramp to Stadium Boulevard and the Highway 54 eastbound ramp to Route C were all closed because of debris in the road.
UPDATE 7:09 a.m.: Video shows destruction in downtown Jefferson City on McCarty Street.
UPDATE 6:35 a.m.: Local and state officials have wrapped up a news conference providing updates about the tornado that hit Jefferson City.
Jefferson City Police Department Lt. David Williams said the tornado that hit late Wednesday affected about a 3-square-mile area of the city. Law enforcement officers were in the area to keep out people who don’t have a pressing need to be in the storm damage area.
Authorities plan to start a door-to-door search soon.
The Columbia Police Department has 12 officers helping in Jefferson City and the Columbia Fire Department has 16 rescue technicians and four fire trucks helping.
UPDATE 5:25 a.m.: Jefferson City officials say about 20 people have been taken by ambulances to local hospitals.
No deaths had been reported, the Jefferson City Police Department said in a news release.
Police discouraged employees of businesses in the damaged area to avoid starting cleanup efforts because of the hazard presented by damaged utilities.
The Red Cross has established shelters in the city.
Full video of an earlier police news conference is available below. Another news conference was planned for 6 a.m.
UPDATE 5 a.m.: Missouri Public Safety said nine patients have been confirmed at Jefferson City hospitals due to storm-related injuries.
UPDATE 4:48 a.m.: Multiple Jefferson City school buildings sustain damage. JCPS spokeswoman Ryan Burns said Simonsen 9th Grade Center had considerable damage to the roof; Adkins Stadium press box at Jefferson City High School had considerable damage to the roof; Nichols Career Center had damage to roof; and Thorpe Gordon had damage to roof. JCPS staff will assess more damage later Thursday, Burns said.
UPADTE 4:47 a.m.: Missouri Task Force One asks people to stay sheltered.
UPDATE 4:45 a.m.: ABC 17 Stormtrack Meteorologist Brigit Mahoney gives a timeline of events of the tornado in Cole County.
11:08 PM: TORNADO WARNING ISSUED FOR COLE COUNTY UNTIL MIDNIGHT
11:10 PM: SIRENS SOUND
11:21 PM: TORNADO WARNING CONTINUES IN COLE COUNTY AS NWS CONFIRMS TORNADO TOUCH DOWN NEAR HICKORY HILL
11:30 PM: CONFIRMED TORNADO IN BRAZITO
11:38 PM: CONFIRMED TORNADO IN COLE COUNTY
11:40 PM: SIRENS REACTIVATED
11:44 PM: NWS ISSUES A CATASTROPHIC TAG FOR TORNADO WARNING
11:47 PM: FIRST DAMAGE REPORTS IN JC
UPDATE 4:40 a.m.: Governor Mike Parson Tweets that all non-essential state employees should stay home on Thursday.
Due to the tornado and severe weather in Jefferson City last night we are asking that all non-essential state employees in the Jefferson City area remain at home on Thursday. We have damage to state buildings and power is down in some areas. Please be safe!
— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) May 23, 2019
UPDATE 4:33 a.m.: Missouri Task Force 1 is searching for victims at the Hawthorne Apartment Complex in the 500 block of Ellis Blvd in Jefferson City.
UPDATE 4:23 a.m.: Joy and Gladness Children Academy in Jefferson City has severe damage after storms. There were no reported injuries from the daycare.
UPDATE 4:15 a.m.: The Missouri Department of Transportation said Routes 50 and 54 through Jefferson City are open, but some exits and other roadways remain closed.
UPDATE 2:50 a.m.: Lincoln University will be closed on Thursday, May 23, said LU spokeswoman Misty Young. The campus will reopen on Tuesday.
UPDATE 2:30 a.m.: The Jefferson City Police Department was assessing damage to the larger Jefferson City area on Thursday morning.
Authorities were focusing on the area of Ellis Boulevard and Highway 54. As of 2 a.m. Thursday, no one was killed in the storm that swept through the area.
Power lines were down, and multiple buildings were damaged, according to Lt. David Williams with JCPD.
UPDATE: The Jefferson City Police Department said it is in the process of assessing damage in Jefferson City. Crews are trying to identify the location of damage and search for injured residents.
The department is asking people to stay clear of the impacted areas.
A news briefing is scheduled for 2 a.m. at the Cole County Sheriff’s Department. ABC 17 News will be there.
ORIGINAL: Several agencies are gathering at the Cole County EMS headquarters in Jefferson City to evaluate storm damage in Missouri’s Capitol.
CCEMS Chief Matthew Lindewirth said fire, police and ambulance departments are coordinating their responses.
Jefferson City Fire said in a Facebook post they are actively responding to serious damage.
“All a large tornado has hit parts of Jefferson City. All Jefferson City Firefighters have been called back and are beginning rescue operations. Please Pray for our Citizens,“ the post said.
Missouri Task Force 1 was activated at the request of the JCFD, according to Gale Bloomenkamp, a member of the task force.
ABC 17 News crews have damage to buildings, trees in vehicles on Christy Drive.