DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a tornado that tore through southeastern Missouri has caused widespread destruction and killed and injured multiple people.

Sgt. Clark Parrott of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says the tornado moved through a rural area of Bollinger County, about 50 miles south of St. Louis, between 3:30 and 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Sunlight filters through storm clouds onto a wind turbine as severe weather rolls through the midwest on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, south of Stuart, Iowa. Strong storms, likely including tornadoes, are expected to hit parts of the Midwest and South beginning Tuesday evening. (Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald via AP)

He said it caused “multiple injuries and multiple deaths,” but he didn’t say how many or precisely where they occurred.

He said a search and rescue operation is underway that involves multiple agencies.

Crews are having to use chainsaws to cutback trees and brush to reach homes.

The tornado was part of a powerful weather system moving through the Midwest and South.