Only minor damage; no major injuries, deaths reported

Randolph, Cooper and Audrain counties were relatively unscathed by the Wednesday night storms despite tornado, hail, thunderstorm and flood warnings throughout mid-Missouri.

No major injuries or deaths were reported related to the severe weather. Certain areas experienced minor hail, flood and wind damage in certain areas.

Randolph

A tornado watch was issued around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday for Randolph County, which was expected to stay in effect until 11 p.m. The National Weather Service around 7:30 p.m. issued a tornado warning that lasted until approximately 9 p.m.

Some residents reported a tornado touched down near Cairo, but that was not confirmed by the National Weather service, Moberly Fire Chief George Albert said. There were several reports of funnel clouds forming in the county, he said.

A funnel cloud formed about two miles north of Clark, but it never touched the ground, said John Truedell chief emergency management officer and Randolph County presiding commissioner.

“We have several reports of rotation within the clouds in Randolph County and Moberly,” Albert said. “And maybe a possible tornado touching down near the Cairo area… but I don’t have that confirmed with the National Weather Service.”

Renick, Higbee and Clark received some wind and hail damage, Albert said. The New Hope United Methodist Church, near Clark, had some hail and wind damage, including a bent sign, fallen tree limbs and uprooted a tree in the cemetery.

“When the sirens go off, that means [people need to] go inside and take shelter,” Albert said. “... Be cautious and know what’s going on in surroundings with the weather.”

The hail storm caused a lot of the damage in Randolph County, Truesdell said. The hail was reported as ping-pong ball size by the National Weather Services. Windows, house siding and vehicles received the brunt of the hail damage, Truesdell said.

“That’s the worst hail storm I have ever seen,” Truesdell said. “... It was nothing but solid white.”

For the most part, the storms missed Moberly, but Albert urged people to make sure they are prepared for severe weather and have a plan to follow for future storms, because it could take a significant amount of time for first responders to arrive after severe storms.

“The city of Moberly got really lucky, because [the storm] kind of split and went to the north and south of us,” Albert said.

Several shelter areas were also set up throughout the county, such as the Moberly Area Activity Center, the Mt. Salem Baptist Church in Jacksonville and a vacant building in Rencik, next to the Renick Barbershop.

Cooper

A tornado formed and briefly touched down on the western edge of Cooper County, but it quickly dissipated, Cooper County Emergency Management Director Larry Oerly said.

“There was a timeframe when we had some power outages,” Oerly said. “... At this point, there is no major damage to structures or homes that I know of.”

There was some flooding to several homes in Boonville and some of the residents will voluntarily evacuate to a nearby church, Oerly said.

“We’re getting ready to start a voluntary evacuation,” Oerly said. “We’re going to open a shelter up for some of the displaced people. We’re not talking a huge number, but it’s their homes. It significant to them.”

About five or six people will be sheltered and approximately 15 people total are affected because of the flooding, Orely said.

The National Weather Service has flood warning in effect for Boonville and surrounding areas until June 3.

Despite the flooding and minor damages, Boonville and Cooper County weathered the storm well, Orely said.

“We kind of dodged a bullet,” Orely said.

Audrain

Minor damage was reported, mostly to trees, throughout Audrain County, said Emergency Management Director Nick Tietsort. A majority of the damage happened in the northern and eastern parts of Mexico. Vandalia also lost during the storm, he said.

“We have an emergency response protocol and call-out protocol for that,” said Mexico Public Works Director Kensey Russell. “We do gas up our equipment, our trucks and other equipment, check chainsaws and things like that for when we're aware of impending storms. So that’s pre-preparation.. just in case something was to actually happen. It's coordinated with the power companies and public safety and potentially the county, as well.”

The city will also watch for flooding and is working to clear debris from road inlets and grates so drains are clear, Russell said.

“If we had flooding that would cover streets… we would stage some signage and barricades to block the street and not have people drive through the water,” Russell said. “That periodically happens over on Pollock Road when the (South Fork) Salt River backs up. So we're keeping an eye on that area, so if we have some river flooding, then that is one of the things that would happen. We have some of our crews out cleaning leaves from inlets and grates to try to make sure that drains and to make sure street runoff doesn't become a problem.” 

ecliburn@moberlymonitor.com