Powerful tornadoes ripped through Missouri on Wednesday night, causing severe damage in the state's capital and killing at least three in Golden City.
Missouri's tornadoes hit on the eighth anniversary of the Joplin, Missouri, tornado, which was the nation's deadliest in more the six decades, killing 158 people. Currently, no deaths have been reported in the state's capital, Jefferson City (which was hit by a separate tornado), but at least 25 people were treated for injuries in the area. However, in Golden City, Missouri, there have been at least three reported deaths, according to the New York Times: Kenneth G. Harris, 86; Opal P. Harris, 83; and Betty Berg, 56.
In Jefferson City, the tornado caused severe damage, including downing power lines, overturning cars, ripping out walls, and carrying debris such as furniture hundreds of yards through the air.
More than 29 tornadoes were reported from Wednesday to Thursday, mostly concentrated in Oklahoma and Missouri. In total, 171 tornadoes have been reported since Friday, May 17th, according to CNN.
But threats to the state continue. Missouri and Oklahoma remain at risk for continued storms—and more flooding. Jefferson City is particularly at risk from flooding from the Missouri River. And in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Arkansas River continues to rise, sparking concerns about further flooding. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt told reporters that projections suggest over 1,000 homes have already been damaged as a result of flooding.
"Everything here is already saturated," Chris Franks, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Kansas City, Missouri, told the Times. "We can't take a lot more rainfall, and the forecast calls for a lot more rain early into next week."
Climate change has increased the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including droughts and floods. While research indicates that the frequency of tornadoes has been increasing, the link to climate change remains less clear.
More From Pacific Standard on Extreme Weather:
- Washington State Faces a Drought Emergency While Much of the U.S. Is Having a Wet Spring. Is This Normal?
- What's Causing the Wild Weather in the Midwest?
- This Spring's Predicted Flood Risks: An Essential Reading List
- Is Climate Change Creating More Tornadoes?
- The Damage From Flooding in the Midwest Is Still Mounting