A tornado has caused heavy damage in Missouri's capital city as severe weather swept across the state overnight, causing three deaths and trapping dozens of people in the wreckage of their homes.

The National Weather Service confirmed that the large and destructive tornado moved over Jefferson City shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

Gov. Mike Parson said three people died. Missouri Public Safety said they were killed in the Golden City area of Barton County. The governor is praising first responders who have worked through the night to free people from homes that have been ripped apart in the storm.

Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams says no deaths were reported in the capital, but 20 people have been rescued by emergency personnel.