Earlier in the day on May 10 the clouds assumed an interesting pattern. This photo taken from the Sutherland's parking lot on Range Line Road in Joplin may have been an omen of what was to come around 5 p.m. just to the southwest. (Photo by Ashley Taylor)
Several tornadoes touched down in Missouri's Newton, Jasper and Barry counties, leaving at least 16 people dead and at least 150 homes damaged. Firefighter Tyler Casey, 21, who was storm spotting at Highway 43 and Iris Road was the latest victim, according to an announcement made by a Seneca Fire Protection District official. The announcement that caught many of the assembled media by surprise came after a short speech by Gov. Matt Blunt who with several political representatives had just completed a walking tour of the area near the command center in that very area. Casey leaves a two-year old daughter and a pregnant fiancee.
Visitation is from 6-8 p.m. on May 16, 2008 at the Racine Christian Church, K Highway and Kentucky Road (From Joplin, take 86 Hwy south (east) to Racine then turn west on K Hwy.) and funeral service is at the same location at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 17. To sign the memorial book go here.
Names of the deceased released by the county coroners after notification to family are: Newton County: Ruby Bilke, Joplin; Tyler Casey, Newton County; Teri Cook, outside of Racine; Paul Gallemore, Racine; Linda Hasty, Seneca; Daniel, Barbara, Jeff and Terrance "Joe" Monroe, Newton County; Rockie Peterson, Neosho; Christine Petree, Morrisville; and Richard, Kathy and Clayton Rountree, Joplin. Barry County: Kerry Kisler Jr, Purdy. Jasper County: Casey Coggins, outside of Carthage.
Surveying the property on Highway 86 north of the Racine post office was this gentleman who is dwarfed by the size of the felled trees. Two walls and the roof of a nearby house on the property were demolished. (Photo by mariwinn)
The F4 tornado with winds in excess of 175 miles per hour tore through everything in its twisty path which some estimate to have been at least a quarter mile wide and 8 miles long. Driving south on Highway 86 from Spring City one is suddenly met with a shocking scene of whole groves of uprooted trees scattered on the landscape, a sight impossible to adequately capture with a camera.
Where's my momma?, asks this calf the morning after the tornado devastated the farms along Highway BB near Racine, MO. (Photo by Ashley Taylor)
Farmers in the tornado ravaged area have reported missing cattle. Confused cows could be seen milling around looking for their young. Calves also did not know what to make of their orphaned condition. Quite like in the funnel depicted in the movie, Twister, the animals were taken in the fields and deposited nobody seems to know where.
The capriciousness of the tornado was the subject of many conversations as folks assessed the damage to their properties. In one household where the glass in two windows on adjacent walls was shattered a china closet in between containing family heirlooms was spared. The home of the owners had sustained significant roof damaged as well as the disappearance of their garage.
No warning sounded in rural areas
Initial reports had the tornado tracking on a more northerly path. The city of Joplin sounded its warning sirens about 5 p.m. Those victims in vehicles on Highway 43 and 71 were completely taken by surprise. After the fact Blunt and Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, James F. Keathley issued a statement reminding motorists to watch the sky and drive away from the tornado's path. The advice by emergency personnel is to vacate the vehicle and seek shelter, including hunkering down in the deepest ditch in the vicinity.
Communities without warning systems in place have been reminded by Morris Westfall, Missouri USDA Rural Development state director, that funding is available to help purchase emergency warning sirens. In addition, funding is available to install systems so that individual homeowners may pick up NOAA weather signals.
Community rallies with aid
A "One Stop Shop" will be open at the Neosho Calvary Baptist Church off of Highway 60 at 2650 Oakridge Extension. Phone for availability at (417) 451-8248.
A Donations Warehouse for drop-off or pick-up also is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1300 Howard Bush Dr. (on the southeast side of the Neosho Airport), Neosho.
The Newton County Office of Emergency Management advises any person, organization or business wishing to donate goods, services or volunteers to the recovery effort to please first call the Donations Hotline at (417) 451-8248
The worst in nature brings out the best in Missourians.
--Gov. Matt Blunt during his news conference near Seneca on May 12th.
Tetanus shots will be administered by local health officials at two locations. Tentative hours are 8-9 a.m. at the command center, Highway 43 and Iris Road and from 7-8 p.m. at the Newton County Ambulance District Building, Highway 86, one mile west of Newtonia.
Row 1: (Photos by Stephen Timme) On Highway 86 a wooden projectile sliced through the windshield of a car. Household items are strewn amongst tree debris. And this is one of many overturned vehicles caused by the tornadic wind. Row 2-3: (Photos by mariwinn) A command center was set up on Highway 43 and BB where the tornado crossed from the west. Gov. Blunt and several state legislative officials toured the area and met with the media from many outlets. What was left of Lant's Feed store can be seen in the piles of debris. Row 3: (Photos by Ashley Taylor) A pile of rubble was all that was left of a barn on property on Iris Road. Some trees were felled; this one was denuded then decorated with a piece of metal that could have come from anywhere. Interestingly, the barbed wire fence was untouched. And the bike--well, it wasn't owned by anyone in the vicinity in which it landed.
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