Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

The most credible news source in Barbados

A view of damage to a building caused by a tornado, in Colona, Illinois, U.S. April 4, 2023 in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. (Amber Real via REUTERS)

Deadly storm

April 6, 2023
A semi truck loaded with cattle tipped over in South Dakota. (South Dakota Highway Patrol) 

(CNN) — As a tornado-spawning storm system that walloped the Central US winds down, communities in southeastern Missouri are left sifting through the wreckage of what used to be homes and looking ahead to a long road to recovery.

At least five people were killed when a possible tornado struck Bollinger County, Missouri in the dark overnight hours Wednesday, according to Sheriff Casey Graham.

The storm tore a path of destruction across several communities in the county, reducing homes into piles of wood, scraping the roofs off buildings, splintering trees and littering roads with debris.

“When you look at the devastation of this, it’s going to be weeks upon months to be able to recover,” Gov. Mike Parson said after touring Bollinger County. “It’s a long journey ahead for the people that live here.”

At least 87 structures have been damaged, including 12 that were completely destroyed, said Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel Eric Olson.

“It was a very quick storm. It felt like it moved very quickly throughout the county,” Graham told CNN affiliate KFVS.

The devastation in Bollinger County mirrors the destruction left behind in parts of the South and Midwest, where violent storms and tornadoes left 32 people dead just last week.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, there were at least 12 tornadoes reported, including at least seven in Illinois, where several buildings were damaged in the town of Colona.

The storm also battered communities with damaging winds and large hail. Davenport, Iowa, was pelted with 4-inch hail — larger than a softball.

Now, as crews in different communities work to clear debris, a slight risk for severe weather is forecast for over 35 million people Thursday from parts of North Carolina to the Mid-Atlantic.

Storms from Texas to the northeast could bring with them a slight flood threat on Thursday and Friday, according to the Weather Prediction Center.

Around 7 million people are under flood watches from east Texas to Kentucky, spanning 750 miles in seven states. Cities in the watch include Shreveport, Nashville, and Memphis, according to the National Weather Service. Watches are in effect through Thursday and into late Friday.

The flood threat includes Texas, southwest Arkansas, northern Louisiana, northern Mississippi, northern Alabama and western Tennessee.

Heavy rain between 2-4 inches is possible in those areas, with the heaviest storms potentially dropping 5 inches of rain.

‘Homeowners to having nothing’

After the suspected tornado ripped through Bollinger County, residents who lost their homes in the storm were trying to salvage what they could Wednesday as the sun came up.

Resident Alisha Skaggs told KFVS the home her family has lived in for three years was wiped out by the storm.

“From going to being homeowners to having nothing, having to start over, it’s a lot to comprehend,” Skaggs said.

Her neighbor, Kim Sear, told the station she had lived in the area since 1997 and had never seen a tornado come through.

“I never thought our house would ever get hit, our neighbors would ever get hit,” Sear said. “But we have such wonderful neighbors. Everybody was checking on everybody, and I have a wonderful church group and when they’re allowed to come in, they’re gonna help clean up for me.”

Her daughter Ciara Sear described the frightening moment the storm began beating down on their home.

“It sounded like a freight train,” Ciara Sear told KFVS. “There’s stuff breaking everywhere, I was scared for everybody else.”

Glenallen, Missouri, resident Erica White said she and her family had to seek shelter in the bathroom as the roof of their rental home was damaged in the storm.

“It was super scary, the closest tornado I have encountered,” White told CNN. “I had all four kids in the bathtub with a mattress over them.”

The sheriff said hundreds of personnel from over 25 agencies converged on Bollinger County Wednesday in the storm’s aftermath. Crews were working Wednesday to search damaged homes and surrounding roadways, and to clear debris.

“Even in difficult times, it certainly is humbling to see how in our rural communities here in Missouri, that we all come together to work through these very difficult times,” Olson said.

About The Author

Share this!