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May 21, 2009

Series of Tornadoes Strike Region

It was Wednesday, May 13th but it seemed more like Friday the 13th when as many as four tornadoes were reported across northeast Missouri, scrambling local storm watchers in Scotland County.

Most of the attention was focused in the southern portion of the county, after the storms had touched down in Adair and Knox County as they headed east.

According to a spokesperson for the City of Kirksville, Adair County, Missouri was hit by at least two tornadoes. The first reported touchdown occurred at approximately 5:46 p.m. in western Adair County just west of Novinger, Missouri. The tornado was reported to touchdown in the town of Novinger at approximately 5:55 p.m. Damage associated with this tornado occurred to approximately 150 structures in Adair County.

The second tornado touchdown occurred in the northern section of Kirksville, Missouri at approximately 6:05 p.m. The path of this tornado was located in the general area of Industrial Road continuing across Highway 63 and into the general area of Bobwhite Drive. This tornado is estimated to have been approximately ½ mile wide and 8000’ in length.

“We have received reports of a minimum of 61 structures that have received damage as a result of this storm,” said Kirksville Community Services Director Melanie Smith. “Of those reports, we can confirm that at least 10 homes are a total loss and 15 homes have suffered major damage. It is expected that these numbers may rise, as additional assessment of the area is completed over the next few days.”

Smith stated there were two confirmed fatalities associated with this storm system. Both of those deaths occurred just outside of the city limits of Kirksville. There were six confirmed storm-related injuries treated at the Northeast Regional Medical Center. All of these injuries were considered minor.

The storm systems that devastated Adair County continued across northeast Missouri and were responsible for the severe weather conditions in Scotland, Knox and Clark counties.

The National Weather Service (NWS) reported Doppler Radar indication of tornadoes at 6:16 p.m. six miles north of Brashear moving east and then at 6:20 p.m. 12 miles west of Baring resulting in a tornado warning for Scotland County until 6:45 p.m.

The Scotland County Fire Department, Scotland County Sheriff’s Department and Scotland County Ambulance Service disptahced units to southern Scotland County to serve as storm watchers.

The NWS predicted the tornadoes would approach Bible Grove, Sandhill, Rutledge and Gorin.

At 6:33 p.m. trained storm spotters reported a wall cloud near the Scotland and Knox County lines.

At 6:45 p.m. NWS Doppler Radar indicated a tornado nine miles south of Memphis. The storm again was reported by Doppler Radar at 6:58 p.m. eight miles southeast of Rutledge.

According to Scotland County Emergency Management Director Bryan Whitney, no major damage was reported in the county.

Whitney indicated the sheriff’s department sent officers to assist in Kirksville on May 13th and May 14th.

According to Kristie Dozier of the American Red Cross, on May 16th the organization completed checking homes within Wednesday’s storm path to assess the extent of the damage. Approximately 13 homes were destroyed, 20 homes had major damage, and 58 homes had minor damage. These homes were in Adair, Knox, Sullivan counties.

AmerenUE reported approximately 2,600 customers were without power immediately after the storm. The company estimated that at least 90 large poles were down.

On May 14th Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed an executive order extending the state of emergency in response to storm systems that continued to affect Missouri, bringing tornadoes, destructive winds and flash flooding to both the northern and southern parts of the state.

Last week, the Governor activated the State Emergency Operations Center in response to storms systems affecting southern Missouri. The Governor has ordered that the SEOC remain activated to assist local jurisdictions with their emergency protective measures.


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