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Missouri's capital hit by deadly EF-3 tornado

Friday, May 24th 2019, 10:00 am - A preliminary review by the National Weather Service ranks the violent Missouri tornado as at least an EF-3.

A violent tornado hit Missouri's capital Jefferson City late Wednesday night, leaving at least three people dead, according to Missouri Governor Mike Parson. The fatalities occurred in Golden City, more than 240 km southwest of the capital.

A resident of Jefferson City told CNN that "When it hit... it felt like an earthquake." A preliminary survey conducted by the U.S. National Weather Service indicates that the Jefferson City tornado was rated as an EF-3 with winds around 257 km/h.

SEE ALSO: Deadly severe storm outbreak spawned 170+ tornadoes

Parson said there were 20 people injured in Jefferson City and he expected more across the state. The Jefferson City Fire Department was sending rescuers from house-to-house searching for people trapped in debris on Thursday.

The NWS reported that a "massive" twister hit the southeastern part of Jefferson City, damaging buildings, toppling trees and power lines and tossing around parked cars, with some debris sent as high as 13,000 feet into the air.

Parts of Jefferson were under orders to evacuate Thursday ahead of the expected crest of the Missouri River at least two feet above the 30-foot high levees.

Wednesday's twister, which fell on the same day as one of the most devastating tornadoes in U.S. history, was part of a significant storm system that has tore through the central U.S. for the past several days.

According to the NWS, over 170 tornadoes have been reported since last Friday with at least 29 of them reported from early Wednesday into Thursday.

Focusing on Friday, another system emerging from the Plains will spark strong to severe weather from west Texas into the Midwest. An associated warm front will lift into the Midwest and Michigan through the day on Friday, reaching southwestern Ontario late Friday night into the overnight. Strong storms producing wind gusts over 90 km/h and small hail are possible.

MORE HORRIFYING SCENES FROM WEDNESDAY'S VIOLENT TORNADO

With files from Reuters.

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