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Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in Missouri after severe weather, including heavy rain, hail, strong winds, flash flooding, and at least one tornado swept across the state Thursday morning, causing widespread damage.

Nixon says emergency officials carried out eight water rescues along flooded streams and rivers near Warrensburg overnight. If you encounter a flooded roadway, do not continue driving. Keep in mind the phrase "Turn around, don't drown." It only takes 10 inches of water to lift a vehicle.

The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated, and is monitoring the storm system. More severe weather is expected Thursday afternoon and into the evening, and could produce more hail, tornadoes, and flash flooding.

RADAR: First Alert Weather radar

At least one tornado touched down Thursday shortly before 5:30 a.m. in University City, causing damage to approximately 100 homes. The National Weather Service estimates that tornado to have been an EF-0 or EF-1. No injuries have been reported.

Nixon toured the storm damage Thursday afternoon.

"We still have a very dangerous day," Nixon said. "Quite frankly, if you look from a statewide perspective, the weather and the risks we face for the rest of the day and into the evening are more significant overall than this tornado here."

By 2:50 p.m. Thursday, Ameren Missouri reports approximately 3,000 customers remain without power, and Ameren Illinois reports approximately 500 outages.

APP: Download the First Alert Weather app

On Wednesday, heavy rains caused flash flooding in parts of north St. Louis. Several people had to be rescued from floating vehicles in the 9200 block of Riverview Boulevard. Everyone was able to make it out safely.

Two more rounds of severe weather are expected Thursday. The first is expected to bring heavy rainfall. The second will produce the highest risk for tornadoes, hail, high winds, and more heavy rain. If you must travel Thursday afternoon or evening, keep an eye on the radar. Never drive through severe weather.

Nixon's emergency management team consisting of senior officials with the Missouri Department of Public Safety, the State Emergency Management Agency, the Missouri National Guard, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol will continue to assess the weather situation and address local needs.

FORECAST: Read the most recent forecast for STL

The Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan has also been activated, which will allow local jurisdictions to coordinate directly with state agencies to provide emergency services.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 5 and KSDK.com for weather updates throughout the evening.

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