JEFFERSON CITY, MO (AP) — Gov. Mike Parson says storms that slammed Missouri overnight left devastation across much of the state and it was fortunate that only three fatalities have been reported.
Parson said as of early Thursday authorities are not aware of any other people missing but noted that could change as daylight arrives.
The governor credited the low fatality count to the work of numerous safety and law enforcement agencies for warning people across the state about the impending storms.
The three fatalities were reported near Golden City in southwest Missouri.
Authorities say a pair of barges that broke loose on the swollen Arkansas River in Oklahoma and threatened to crash into a dam are now stuck on rocks.
The news Thursday morning comes as a relief in the small town of Webbers Falls, where emergency officials had warned of "catastrophic" flooding if the barges struck the dam. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the barges are still tied together, and crews are working to secure them.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says the Interstate 40 bridge and a state highway bridge remain closed over the Arkansas River at Webbers Falls as a precaution.
Over Memorial Day weekend in 2002, a barge struck the Interstate 40 bridge pier at Webbers Falls, causing part of the bridge to collapse into the Arkansas River. Fourteen people died after their vehicles plunged into the water.
A tornado has caused heavy damage in Missouri's capital city as severe weather swept across the state overnight, causing three deaths and trapping dozens of people in the wreckage of their homes.
The National Weather Service confirmed that the large and destructive tornado moved over Jefferson City shortly before midnight on Wednesday.
Gov. Mike Parson said three people died. Missouri Public Safety said they were killed in the Golden City area of Barton County. The governor is praising first responders who have worked through the night to free people from homes that have been ripped apart in the storm.
Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams says no deaths were reported in the capital, but 20 people have been rescued by emergency personnel.