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

An elephant at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. In Defense of Animals

By Marilyn Kroplick

The term "zoonotic disease" wasn't a hot topic of conversation before the novel coronavirus started spreading across the globe and upending lives. Now, people are discovering how devastating viruses that transfer from animals to humans can be. But the threat can go both ways — animals can also get sick from humans. There is no better time to reconsider the repercussions of keeping animals captive at zoos, for the sake of everyone's health.

Read More Show Less
Isiais now approaches the Carolinas, and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane again before reaching them Monday night. NOAA

Florida was spared the worst of Isaias, the earliest "I" storm on record of the Atlantic hurricane season and the second hurricane of the 2020 season.

Read More Show Less
A campaign targeting SUV advertising is a project between the New Weather Institute and climate charity Possible. New Weather Institute

To meet its climate targets, the UK should ban advertisements for gas-guzzling SUVs, according to a report from a British think tank that wants to make SUVs the new smoking, as the BBC reported.

Read More Show Less

A company from Ghana is making bikes out of bamboo.

By Kate Whiting

Bernice Dapaah calls bamboo "a miracle plant," because it grows so fast and absorbs carbon. But it can also work wonders for children's education and women's employment – as she's discovered.

Read More Show Less
Scientists say it will take a massive amount of collective action to reverse deforestation and save society from collapse. Big Cheese Photo / Getty Images Plus

Deforestation coupled with the rampant destruction of natural resources will soon have devastating effects on the future of society as we know it, according to two theoretical physicists who study complex systems and have concluded that greed has put us on a path to irreversible collapse within the next two to four decades, as VICE reported.

Read More Show Less
Researchers have turned to hydrophones, instruments that use underwater microphones to gather data beyond the reach of any camera or satellite. Pxfuel

By Kristen Pope

Melting and crumbling glaciers are largely responsible for rising sea levels, so learning more about how glaciers shrink is vital to those who hope to save coastal cities and preserve wildlife.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The fact is, cats play different predatory roles in different natural and humanized landscapes. PIXNIO / CCO

By William S. Lynn, Arian Wallach and Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila

A number of conservationists claim cats are a zombie apocalypse for biodiversity that need to be removed from the outdoors by "any means necessary" – coded language for shooting, trapping and poisoning. Various media outlets have portrayed cats as murderous superpredators. Australia has even declared an official "war" against cats.

Read More Show Less