Rain, wind, tornado reports Monday

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Over night severe storms damaged Washington Township's equipment shed on W highway at 1525 Road. Gabe Franklin/Daily Mail

Nevada Daily Mail

A line of thunderstorms moved across the central United States Monday evening prompting numerous severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings across multiple states and here in Vernon County.

Local weather spotters were activated with the approach of the storms and at about 9:20 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a radar-indicated tornado warning for Nevada and northeast Vernon County.

Sheldon Fire Department's Josh Jeffries was serving as a storm spotter at the Bellamy exit on I-49 when he and his crew spotted what appeared to be a tornado to the west.

Jeffries said they drove south on I-49 to a safer location and when they returned north to the Bellamy exit, they encountered an overturned tractor-trailer.

Jeffries also reported seeing "power flashes" to the west. When power poles or lines break, the electric arcs that are visible are typically called power flashes.

As of press time, this sighting has not been confirmed by the National Weather Service.

Missouri State Highway Patrol traffic crash reports describe the overturned tractor-trailer as a 2012 Freightliner driven by Ronald T. Wooley, 51, of Vickburg, Miss. According to Sgt. T. Polodna, Wooley was driving northbound on I-49 when strong winds caused the truck to overturn and slide on its side down the roadway. It came to rest blocking both northbound lanes. Wooley was transported to Nevada Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

According to fire department radio traffic, other storm spotters were reporting damage to the Washington Township lot at W highway and 1525 Road, trees down northeast of Walker, and trees down and damage to homes east of Milo.

There was significant damage at the Washington Township equipment storage facility on Highway W north of Nevada. Half of the equipment shed roof was ripped off, and three out of four roll up doors were destroyed. Tin from the shed roof was blown several hundred yards away across a field. Another garage on the property was damaged by a large water tank that has yet to be found. A sand spreader and the frame holding it was thrown out onto 1525 Road east of the lot as was a dumpster. A nearby private garage was also damaged.

Center Township board member Rick Smith said Center Township sent a crew to Washington Township to assist with the clean up.

Vernon County Emergency Management Director Dennis Kimrey spent more than five hours surveying damage Tuesday morning. Kimrey said he found numerous trees with broken limbs or that had been knocked down, two sheds that were destroyed, and roofs of homes damaged. He said he could not confirm any damage indicating a tornado.

Barton County Electric Cooperative (which serves southern Vernon County) announced on their website at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning that 449 of their customers were without power, 21 power poles were down and out of service, and crews were working to restore power. By 10:30 a.m. Barton County Electric reported only 200 customers without power and power pole replacement was half completed. At the peak of the outage, almost 700 BCEC customers were without power.

Kimrey said eight of those power poles were on 1525 Road north of BB highway. This is northwest of the Bellamy exit on I-49 where Jeffries and his crew were watching the storm. The other 13 power poles that needed to be replaced were west of Deerfield near the ADM bio-diesel plant.

Vernon County presiding commissioner Joe Hardin praised Kimrey in a Facebook post Tuesday morning and asked for the public's assistance in the damage assessment process.

"We need your assistance on getting an accurate picture of last night's storm," Hardin wrote. "If you have damage to your property or assets, please report the damage to Dennis [Kimrey].

Property damage can be reported on the Vernon County Emergency Management Agency's website at http://www.vernoncountyoem.org or by calling 417-667-8236.

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