Stunning video shows a twister ripping across fields near Forgan, Oklahoma.
Missouri authorities reported three tornado-related deaths late Wednesday, and the central and southern plains braced for more severe weather on Thursday as a dangerous string of storms continued to wreak havoc.
More than 80 tornadoes have slammed the region since Monday, according to meteorologist reports, and potential flooding triggered evacuations from Oklahoma to Missouri on Wednesday.
The danger of the storm system will continue to weaken Thursday, the Storm Prediction Center said, but severe storms with large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes will potentially persist across the plains.
Thunderstorms will also pose an “enhanced” risk from part of the Ohio Valley into the Middle Atlantic. The designation ranks level 3 on the 5-level risk scale for severe storms.
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The National Weather Service in St. Louis urged residents of the state’s capital to take shelter from a “violent” tornado just before midnight local time on Wednesday. Jefferson City news outlets reported multiple injuries, infrastructure damage including collapsed buildings and widespread power outages.
Missouri Public Safety confirmed three deaths in the Golden City area of Barton County, as well as several injuries in the Carl Junction area of Jasper County. A tornado Wednesday night moved through Golden City after starting south-southwest of Carl Junction, said Jasper County Emergency Management Director Keith Stammer.
The tornado damaged roofs of homes, fences, farm buildings and utility poles in Carl Junction, Stammer said, and officials plan to survey the extent of the destruction in the morning.
Four deaths related to a tornado and rain were reported on Monday and Tuesday: one in Iowa, one in Oklahoma and two in Missouri.
The severe weather this week comes after a string of wild-weather days across the Midwest last week, when at least 50 reports of tornadoes were logged across the central and southern Plains, AccuWeather said.
While storms continue to batter the central U.S., extreme heat will be the main weather story in the Southeast for the next several days. Record-breaking high temperatures, some nearing 100 degrees, are possible in several states from Alabama to Virginia.
Contributing: John Bacon and Doyle Rice, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
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