Three dead as tornado strikes Missouri

A smashed service station in Jefferson City, Missouri, after a destructive tornado touched down.
A smashed service station in Jefferson City, Missouri, after a destructive tornado touched down.

A "violent tornado" has touched down in Jefferson City, causing heavy damage in Missouri's capital city as severe weather swept across the US state.

The tornado caused at least three deaths and left many people trapped in the wreckage of their homes.

Missouri Public Safety confirmed in a tweet that three people were killed in the Golden City area of Barton County, and several injured in the Carl Junction area of Jasper County

Area hospitals did not see an immediate influx of patients but set up command centers in case the need arises.

Power outages were reported in parts of the city.

Missouri Public Safety tweeted that there was a possibility of more tornadoes and flash flooding.

The National Weather Service said it had received 22 reports of tornadoes by late Wednesday, although some of those could be duplicate reporting of the same twister.

One tornado skirted just a few kilometres north of Joplin, Missouri, on the eighth anniversary of a catastrophic tornado that killed 161 people in the city.

The tornado caused some damage in the town of Carl Junction, about 6km north of the Joplin airport.

Storms and torrential rains have ravaged the Midwest, from Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.

Authorities urged residents of several small towns in Oklahoma and Kansas to leave their homes as rivers and streams rose.

Australian Associated Press