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Deadly overnight tornadoes spread damage across Missouri

Parts of Missouri are in disaster mode after a barrage of tornadoes struck Wednesday night. The violent storms flipped vehicles and tore up neighborhoods. While the state capital, Jefferson City, escaped with no fatalities, three people were killed 150 miles away in Golden City. But Governor Mike Parson expressed thanks that the outcome wasn't even more devastating. Amna Nawaz reports.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Parts of Missouri, including the capital city, are in disaster mode after a barrage of tornadoes. They struck during the night, and left death and heavy damage.

    Amna Nawaz has our report.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Twisters darkened the Missouri evening sky.

  • Man:

    There's a tornado right there, Janie.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    And, after nightfall, lightning strikes and wailing sirens signaled the oncoming danger.

    Daylight revealed heavy damage in Jefferson City, where the Capitol Building was under renovation. A tornado had ripped apart homes and entire neighborhoods, leaving families to dig through the wreckage.

    At a car dealership, mangled vehicles lay flipped over and rows of new cars sat damaged or destroyed.

    Carrie Tergin is mayor of Jefferson City.

  • Carrie Tergin:

    There are many residents who lost their homes, who lost portions of their homes, who had significant damage to their homes. It's been a trying day. It's been hard, and we have had to look at each other and cry and hug each other and say, you know what, we're going to get through this together.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    No one was killed in Jefferson City, but 150 miles away, in Golden City, a tornado took three lives.

    Missouri Governor Mike Parson said it could have been even worse.

  • Gov. Mike Parson:

    We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. Plenty of people doing everything they could to warn people, the general public, to take to safety, and a lot of people did.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The severe weather moved in from Eastern Oklahoma, where surging floodwater tore loose two barges in the Arkansas River. They struck a dam just above the town of Webbers Falls, but the dam remained intact.

    Not far away, officials in Tulsa warned of more flooding along the river.

  • Joe Kralicek:

    You should anticipate, by the end of the day today, the water being in your area, if you're in Tulsa County.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Earlier this week, severe flooding sent homes collapsing into the Cimarron River, north of Oklahoma City. Others were left hanging by a thread, as the current carves deep into the shoreline.

    And dozens of tornadoes tore through swathes of the Southern Plains, from Oneida, Kansas to Des Moines, Iowa. All this damage comes after months of severe weather and flooding in the region. And the high waters may be a persistent reality. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center says above-average precipitation is likely in the coming weeks.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Amna Nawaz.

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