Looking for a way to help? Donate to the families of Officer John Hetland and Officer Kou Her

‘It’s bad:’ Milwaukee native describes devastation left by EF3 tornado in Missouri’s capital

Devastation from tornado in Jefferson City, Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A monster tornado swept through Missouri's capital late Wednesday, May 22 into Thursday. As the sun came up, authorities in Jefferson City tried to get a grasp on the full scale of the devastation. The National Weather Service said it was an EF3-rated tornado that twisted its way through the city.

Lonnie Sims is originally from Milwaukee, but now calls Jefferson City home.

"The roofs are missing. Car windows are busted out. Trees on top of cars. It's bad," Sims said.

Devastation from tornado in Jefferson City, Missouri

Lonnie Sims

Sims took cover when the powerful storm moved in.

"My first tornado. I've been through hurricanes, but tornadoes look a lot different than hurricanes," Sims said. "The windows were rattling, so we all got in the bathrooms and in the closet."

The violent tornado hit in the middle of the night. It left behind battered businesses, homes and cars.

"It looks like a war zone at our apartment complex," Sims said.

Portions of the apartment complex were ripped to shreds by high winds and debris.

Devastation from tornado in Jefferson City, Missouri

"After the tornado came and gone, a lot of us went outside to go help our neighbors until the first responders were able to get there and help out," Sims said.

First responders went door-to-door, checking on those impacted.

Devastation from tornado in Jefferson City, Missouri

"We are moving people who are displaced from the area impacted to out to our shelters. So far it is working well," said Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams.

Devastation from tornado in Jefferson City, Missouri

The community came together, and prepared to rebuild.

"Lucky and blessed that nothing happened to me -- my roommates and friends that stay in that area," Sims said.

Sims told FOX6 News he planned to spend time with loved ones until he could get back into his apartment.

Authorities in Jefferson City said no one was killed by this tornado.

Three deaths happened more than 150 miles away near Golden City in Missouri’s southwestern corner.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.