Weather News

‘Extremely dangerous’ tornado reported in southwest MO as warnings go out across state

Tornado on the ground in Carl Junction, 10 miles north of Joplin

A tornado was spotted on the ground in Carl Junction, Mo. on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, just 10 miles north of Joplin.
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A tornado was spotted on the ground in Carl Junction, Mo. on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, just 10 miles north of Joplin.

The National Weather Service has been issuing multiple tornado warnings across Missouri and parts of Kansas as another round of severe storms hit the Midwest Wednesday night.

After receiving several reports of tornadoes in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri, Doug Cramer, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri, said crews would be sent out Thursday to survey the damage.

“We don’t know the number of tornadoes. We really don’t know the extent of the damage until we get out there,” Cramer said late Wednesday night. “Things are very preliminary, and we are still issuing tornado warnings, so right now it’s kind of our focus to get through the night with the flash flood and the tornado warnings.”

Cramer said crews plan to focus on Golden City to an area north of Joplin in Missouri as well as rural sections of Cherokee County, Kansas.

Earlier in the night, Joplin, which was hit by an EF-5 tornado that killed 161 people eight years ago, was included in a warning after a possible tornado hit parts of Jasper and Barton counties. The warning has since expired.

The weather service initially reported that a “confirmed large and extremely dangerous” tornado was located over Oronogo, Missouri, at 8:18 p.m. A tornado emergency was issued for cities nearby, including Oronogo, Webb City and Carterville, which are located in Jasper County.

By 9 p.m., the warning included part of Barton and Dade counties as the storm appeared to move northeast. Additional cities included in the warning were Golden City and Arcola.

“This is a life threatening situation,” the weather service posted in a tweet. “Seek shelter now!”

Warnings also went out in central Missouri where weather spotters observed a possible tornado north of Columbia. The weather service said “a confirmed tornado” was seen seven miles west of Hallsville, moving east at 50 mph around 9:34 p.m.

Elsewhere in the state, around 8:15 p.m., the weather service said a severe thunderstorm “capable of producing a tornado” was observed near Armstrong. It said Howard County 911 had reported a funnel cloud.

In parts of Vernon and St. Clair counties, a tornado warning was issued briefly after it appeared the storm could produce a tornado. The warning expired as the storm weakened, according to the weather service.

A tornado watch remains in effect now until 11 p.m. Wednesday. It includes counties in central and southwestern Missouri and southeastern Kansas.

People on Twitter have been sharing images from the severe storms that have hit parts of Missouri and Kansas:

Ever heard of the term 'supercell' but didn't know what it was? Learn about these powerful storms responsible for most tornadoes in the United States and other thunderstorms in this video from NWS.

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Kaitlyn Schwers covers breaking news and crime at night for The Kansas City Star. Originally from Willard, Mo., she spent nearly three years reporting in Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Missouri and joining The Star in 2017.