May 23 (UPI) -- A powerful tornado touched down in central Missouri early Thursday, killing at least three people and trapping others inside homes, authorities said.
The National Weather Service said the "large and destructive tornado" hit near Jefferson City, Missouri's capital, just before midnight Wednesday.
"First responders once again responded quickly and with strong coordination as much of the state dealt with extremely dangerous conditions," Gov. Mike Parson said. "I want our responders and all the neighbors who acted selflessly to help their neighbors to know how much their heroic efforts are appreciated by all Missourians."
Officials said the deaths occurred in Golden City, about 50 miles west of Springfield. At least 20 were hurt in Jefferson City along with several others in the Carl Junction area.
"There will be multiple injuries across the state, I'm sure," Parson added.
The tornado caused extensive damage and cut electricity to thousands. Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams described the situation as "chaotic."
Heavy rains there also caused a crash near Springfield that killed two people Tuesday.
In Oklahoma, storms caused the Arkansas River to flood many areas. Two barges broke loose on the river and threatened to collide with a dam, officials said, prompting calls for a mandatory evacuation in Webbers Falls. The town's Facebook page urged residents to leave for safer ground.
"If the dam breaks, it will be catastrophic!! Leave now!!" the post read.
Officials said a female driver drowned after ignoring a barricade about 45 miles northeast of Oklahoma City -- and in Iowa, a 74-year-old woman died from another possible tornado.