Dozens fill shelters after tornado leaves widespread damage in Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- More than 80 people are staying in shelters in central Missouri after tornadoes ripped through the region.

Tornadoes caused significant damage overnight in Missouri's capital city of Jefferson City and in Eldon, a town of about 4,900 residents around 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest. The National Weather Service said it was the same storm that hit Jefferson City, though it's not clear whether it was the same tornado.

The American Red Cross opened one shelter in Jefferson City and two in Eldon. Spokeswoman Sharon Watson says 50 people were at the Jefferson City shelter as of late morning.

Thirty-two people were staying at a shelter at an Eldon elementary school. Watson didn't yet have details about how many people were staying at the third shelter, at the Eldon Community Center.

Significant storm path in southwest Missouri

The National Weather Service says it's possible that a tornado that left three people dead and one injured in southwest Missouri had a 50-mile path.

Weather Service Meteorologist Cory Rothstein in Springfield, Missouri, said a tornado touched down Wednesday night near Treece, a southeast Kansas ghost town on the Oklahoma border, and then moved northeast.

Officials said a tornado damaged homes in Carl Junction, Missouri, near Joplin and moved through Oronogo and Golden City. Authorities said three people were found dead and one injured outside Golden City.

Rothstein said a single tornado could have been on the ground for 80 minutes.

But he said the Weather Service won't know for sure whether there was one or multiple tornadoes until two teams finish surveying the storm's path Thursday.

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