(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) A tornado in Missouri caught sleeping residents off guard late Wednesday night, as a series of storms continued to bring chaos across the state, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m., a powerful tornado known as a "Wedge Tornado" -- one in which the funnel is wider than it is tall -- was observed over Jefferson City. It moved at 40 mph and sent debris 13,000 feet into the air, according to the National Weather Service.
Gov. Mike Parson confirmed three fatalities from the tornado in a Thursday morning news conference, saying they "lived on the outskirts of Golden City," which is about 170 miles southwest of Jefferson City, the state's capital.
Mike O'Connell, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of public safety, told CNN early Thursday morning that he took shelter in a closet in Jefferson City.
More than 150 miles southwest, three people died Wednesday night in Golden City, Missouri, and several others in Carl Junction were injured, according to the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency.
Search and rescue missions were launched in Golden City, according to Missouri State Emergency Management spokesman Ron Walker.
The tornadoes are part of a deadly spring storm system that has unleashed drenching rain, flash flooding and hail in the central United States -- along with more than 130 reports of tornadoes in five days.
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