Several people killed as powerful storms, tornadoes slam Central U.S.

Several people have died in a series of powerful storms and tornadoes sweeping across the central United States. Officials have warned residents in parts of Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Illinois to stay vigilant and “take cover as needed” as the extreme weather conditions continue to threaten the region.

A tornado killed at least three people in Golden City, Missouri, and injured several others in nearby Carl Junction on Wednesday, state authorities confirmed. 

According to The Weather Channel, that same twister may have then struck the town of Joplin — exactly eight years after a catastrophic tornado devastated the city. The 2011 EF5 tornado killed more than 150 people in Joplin and injured hundreds of others.

No serious injuries have been reported in Joplin following Wednesday’s storm.

Late Wednesday night, the National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency after a powerful “wedge tornado” — so called because its funnel is wider than it is tall — was observed over the state capital of Jefferson City. The “violent tornado” was moving at a speed of 40 mph, the weather service said,  and had sent debris 13,000 feet into the air. 

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Severe weather in Missouri
This still image taken from video provided by Chris Higgins shows a tornado, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Carl Junction, Mo. The tornado caused some damage in the town of Carl Junction, about 4 miles (6.44 kilometers) north of the Joplin airport. (Chris Higgins via AP)
This still image taken from video provided by Shayla Brooks shows a tornado on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Carl Junction, Mo. The tornado caused some damage in the town of Carl Junction, about 4 miles (6.44 kilometers) north of the Joplin airport. (Shayla Brooks via AP)
This Tuesday, May 21, 2019 photo released by Missouri State Highway Patrol shows the storm damage from a suspected tornado in Wright County at the Town and Country Supermarket in Hartville, Mo. Forecasters say parts of Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas could see more severe weather Wednesday. (Missouri State Highway Patrol via AP)
Crews begin to replace electric lines across from a tornado damaged home, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, near Mangum, Okla. Dangerous storms left a string of more than 30 tornadoes across the central U.S., damaging homes in Oklahoma, demolishing a racetrack grandstand in Missouri and inundating the region with water over a short period. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
This image made from video provided by KWTV-KOTV shows two funnel clouds formed in Crescent, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2019. An intense storm system that weather forecasters labeled "particularly dangerous" swept through the Southern Plains Monday, spawning a few tornadoes that caused some damage and a deluge of rain but no reports of injuries. (KWTV-KOTV via AP)
A tornado is seen in Magnum, Oklahoma, U.S., May 20, 2019 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media on May 21, 2019. Dawson Henry/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - MAY 23: Dirk Sluyter looks in a damaged storage unit on May 23, 2019 in Jefferson City, Missouri. Sluyter was looking for what remained of the boat he had just spent three months restoring. A series of powerful tornadoes killed at least three people in southwestern Missouri causing extensive damage in Jefferson City, the state capital. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - MAY 23: A truck is seen overturned near the remains of the Donnie Braun and Sons Auto Repair on May 23, 2019 in Jefferson City, Missouri. A tornado tore through the area late Thursday night. A series of powerful tornadoes killed at least three people in southwestern Missouri causing extensive damage in Jefferson City, the state capital. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - MAY 23: Mediacom employees look for their fiber cable among the wreckage of a Sonic Drive-In on May 23, 2019 in Jefferson City, Missouri. A series of powerful tornadoes killed at least three people in southwestern Missouri causing extensive damage in Jefferson City, the state capital. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - MAY 23: 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 causing extensive damage in Jefferson City, the state capital. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - MAY 23: 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 causing extensive damage in Jefferson City, the state capital. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
This aerial image shows severe storm damage in Jefferson City, Mo., Thursday, May 23, 2019, after a tornado hit overnight. A tornado tore apart buildings in Missouri's capital city as part of an overnight outbreak of severe weather across the state. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A car is trapped under the fallen metal roof of the Break Time gas station and convenience store in tornado-hit Jefferson City, MO., Thursday, May 23, 2019. The National Weather Service has confirmed a large and destructive tornado has touched down in Missouri's state capital, causing heavy damage and trapping multiple people in the wreckage of their homes. (AP Photo/David A. Lieb)
Tavaris McClain, left, and Tyree Thompson clear debris to free McClain's mother's car outside her destroyed home Thursday, May 23, 2019 after a tornado tore though Jefferson City, Mo. late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
An uprooted tree rests on a home Thursday, May 23, 2019 after a tornado tore though Jefferson City, Mo. late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
This aerial image shows severe storm damage in Jefferson City, Mo., Thursday, May 23, 2019, after a tornado hit overnight. A tornado tore apart buildings in Missouri's capital city as part of an overnight outbreak of severe weather across the state. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Keith James, center, hurries to move a cabinet out of his house before the roof collapses in the Briarbrook neighborhood of Carl Junction, Mo., on Thursday, May 23, 2019. The National Weather Service says a deadly storm in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri spawned four tornadoes in roughly 50 miles. Weather Service Meteorologist Mark Burchfield in Springfield, Mo., said Thursday that two of the tornadoes Wednesday night were EF3 tornadoes, including one in Carl Junction, with winds of 140 mph. (Roger Nomer/The Joplin Globe via AP)
The vacancy sign from the Historic Randles Court is blown to the ground Thursday morning, May 23, 2019, in Eldon, Mo. "I heard the sound change and I thought it was a pressure change. But then I came outside and saw what happened," property owner Jennifer Hart said. Hart and her husband rode out the tornado from inside the main office. (Kate Seaman/Missourian via AP)
This still image taken from video provided by Chris Higgins shows a tornado in Carl Junction, Mo., on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. The tornado caused damage in the town about 4 miles (6.44 kilometers) north of the Joplin airport. (Chris Higgins via AP)
Jessica Rodgers pushes a stroller carrying her sister Sophia Rodgers through downed power lines as they head to Rodgers' mother's apartment to check on damage Thursday, May 23, 2019, after a tornado tore though Jefferson City, Mo., late Wednesday, May 22. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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Extensive infrastructure damage has been reported in the area; injuries and casualties remain unknown, however.

First-responders were going door-to-door to check on Jefferson City residents, officials said.

“Please pray for our citizens,” the city’s fire department wrote on Facebook in the early hours of Thursday.

As CNN noted, the tornadoes are part of a spring storm system that’s lashed the central U.S. with rain, flash flooding and hail over the past few days. 

Several other storm-related fatalities were reported earlier this week, including a Missouri couple killed in a car accident during a downpour on Tuesday and a woman who died after a tornado struck a farmstead in rural west-central Iowa in the early hours of Wednesday. 

The Weather Channel said at least seven storm-related fatalities have been reported. 

Watches for tornadoes and flash flooding have been placed for swathes of the region, stretching from Oklahoma City to central Illinois. Extreme weather events could continue to threaten the area until Thursday

Officials have urged residents to check local forecasts and to take necessary precautions.

″[T]ake storm warnings seriously,” Missouri Gov. Mike Parson wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, ”& act quickly to protect yourself & your family.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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