Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

3 Dead in Missouri Tornadoes, ‘Extensive Damage’ to State Capital

Climate

Trucks are piled on top of each other at Riley Auto Group on May 23, 2019 in Jefferson City, Missouri, after a tornado struck there. A series of powerful tornadoes killed at least three people in southwestern Missouri.

Reed Hoffmann / Getty Images

Violent tornadoes tore through Missouri Wednesday night, killing three and causing "extensive damage" to the state's capital of Jefferson City, The New York Times reported.

"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "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. But three is too many."


The deaths occurred in Golden City, Missouri, about two hours from Kansas City. The dead were Kenneth and Opal Harris, a married couple in their 80s who were found 200 yards from their home, and 56-year-old Betty Berg, who died when the tornado destroyed her mobile home, CBS News reported. Her husband, Mark, was seriously injured.

Sirens first announced the Jefferson City tornado at 11:10 p.m. Wednesday night. It tore through three miles of the city from its north towards the Missouri River and left a mile-wide path. Dozens were injured and dozens more were in shelters, Police Lieutenant David Williams said, as CBS News reported.

'Violent tornado confirmed - shelter now!" National Weather Service St. Louis tweeted at 11:47 p.m.

Several buildings were damaged, NPR reported, including a large apartment complex and the roofs of many school buildings. The storm also downed power lines, which made it more difficult to rescue trapped people and also cut power to more than 13,000 at one point. Gas leaks were also reported.

"Everything from debris from a rooftop into a street, uprooted trees, we've had damage to vehicles, roofs of businesses," Williams told reporters, as NPR reported. "We are going door-to-door to make sure that everyone is accounted for."

Kerry Ann Demetrius emerged from her basement after the storm to find the roof had been blown off her apartment building.

"It sounded like stuff was being thrown around, everything was just banging together, and then it just went dead silent," she said, according to CBS News.

The tornadoes were part of a storm system that moved north and east from Oklahoma and caused extreme weather across the Southern Plains and Midwest. The National Weather Service received 22 reports of tornadoes in Missouri Wednesday, but some of them might have been duplicates, CBS News said. The storm system was expected to move towards the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic Thursday.


The relationship between tornadoes and climate change is still unclear. Research has shown that tornado outbreaks are becoming more frequent and more intense, and that the traditional "tornado alley" of Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma has shifted eastward towards Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Missouri, as Pacific Standard summarized.

One of the authors of the second study, Dr. Victor Gensini of Northern Illinois University, said climate change could be responsible for the eastward shift, as it was consistent with predictions for how a warming climate would impact weather patterns. But he also said the most important concern was that tornadoes were moving east into more densely populated areas.

"We get caught up on the climate aspect, but the real issue going forward with tornadoes—and hail storms and hurricanes and insert your favorite natural disaster—is the fact that we have more human exposure," Gensini told Pacific Standard. "What we've documented in our research is we're having about the same number of tornados but we're having an exponential increase in losses, and really the only thing that describes that is population density. We have more targets to hit."


EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A scenic view of West Papua. Reza Fakhrudin / Pexels

By Arkilaus Kladit

My name is Arkilaus Kladit. I'm from the Knasaimos-Tehit tribe in South Sorong Regency, West Papua Province, Indonesia. For decades my tribe has been fighting to protect our forests from outsiders who want to log it or clear it for palm oil. For my people, the forest is our mother and our best friend. Everything we need to survive comes from the forest: food, medicines, building materials, and there are many sacred sites in the forest.

Read More Show Less
Everyone overthinks their lives or options every once in a while. Some people, however, can't stop the wheels and halt their train of thoughts. Peter Griffith / Getty Images

By Farah Aqel

Overthinkers are people who are buried in their own obsessive thoughts. Imagine being in a large maze where each turn leads into an even deeper and knottier tangle of catastrophic, distressing events — that is what it feels like to them when they think about the issues that confront them.

Read More Show Less
A newly developed catalyst would transform carbon dioxide from power plants and other sources into ethanol. DWalker44 / E+ / Getty Images

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a cheap, efficient way to convert carbon dioxide into liquid fuel, potentially reducing the amount of new carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere.

Read More Show Less
Eureka Sound on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic taken by NASA's Operation IceBridge in 2014. NASA / Michael Studinger / Flickr / CC by 2.0

A 4,000-year-old ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic has collapsed into the sea, leaving Canada without any fully intact ice shelves, Reuters reported. The Milne Ice Shelf lost more than 40 percent of its area in just two days at the end of July, said researchers who monitored its collapse.

Read More Show Less
Teachers and activists attend a protest hosted by Chicago Teachers Union in Chicago, Illinois on Aug. 3, 2020 to demand classroom safety measures as schools debate reopening. KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus cases surging around the U.S. are often carried by kids, raising fears that the reopening of schools will be delayed and calling into question the wisdom of school districts that have reopened already.

Read More Show Less
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds up COVID-19 alert levels during a press conference at Parliament on March 21, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

By Michael Baker, Amanda Kvalsvig and Nick Wilson

On Sunday, New Zealand marked 100 days without community transmission of COVID-19.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms on Aug. 3, 2020 in Austin, Texas. John Moore / Getty Images

The U.S. passed five million coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, just 17 days after it hit the four-million case mark.

Read More Show Less