Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri as severe weather continued to move across the state Thursday. Heavy rain and flooding led to several water rescues along streams and rivers and at least one tornado was reported.
“With the continued significant risk of severe storms and flooding, I urge Missourians to closely monitor weather conditions, so they can take shelter or move to higher ground if needed,” Gov. Nixon said in a statement.
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A tornado touched down in University City, Mo., at 5:23 a.m. Thursday in a densely populated area of St. Louis County. City officials say at least 100 homes were damaged. The tornado was apparently a small one — meteorologists characterized it as between an EF0 and an EF1, meaning winds were likely between 65 mph and 110 mph.
The National Weather Service said portions of Johnson County, Mo., had more than 5 inches of rain, causing flash flooding that forced evacuation of some homes in the Warrensburg area. Several homes were damaged after several creeks flooded, said Sgt. Collin Stosberg of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
A section of Union Pacific railroad tracks were impassable west of Warrensburg, closing the route between Kansas City and Jefferson City and forcing Amtrak to bus passengers on the Missouri River Runner between Kansas City and St. Louis. A Union Pacific spokesman said the tracks may be open by mid-morning Friday.