Thursday, April 21, 2011

Confirmed tornado struck Patton

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PATTON, MO (KRCU) - Repair crews are rushing to fix roofs and haul off debris in several communities across Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois following Tuesday night’s powerful storms. 

In the Bollinger County town on Patton, metal roofing rests twisted across pastures and massive trees lie toppled. Power was lost through much of the area.

The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down southwest of Patton Tuesday night.

Weather Service senior meteorologist Chris Noles says that the tornado’s path was a mile long and 100 yards it length, where it leveled trees and power lines and shore the roof off of a barn.

Noles says that the EF-0 tornado produced 80 mile per hour winds, which complicates separating tornado damage from straight line wind damage.

“With this broad swath of wind damage that we had across Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois Tuesday night, an EF-0 tornado’s wind speeds are pretty much right in line with the wind speeds we saw Tuesday, on the order to 70, 80, 90 miles per hour,” Noles said.

Residents of Patton say that they feel fortunate that nobody was harmed in the tornado.

Sonya Fulton suffered damage to the exterior of her home. The tornado blew bricks off the side of her garage and bowed her garage door. It also lifted her porch off the ground, she says.

Like many Patton residents, her roof lost shingles. Fulton’s husband was busy putting tarps on the roof.

Court clerk Dana Mayfield says that trees were twisted out of the ground and crashed onto her porch, and the walls of her storage shed look like they were squished together by a pair of giant hands.

Bob and Teresa Eachus feel fortunate that their Thousand Oaks Winery escaped any major damage. Like many of their neighbors, they were without power Wednesday afternoon, but a generator kept their food and beverages cool.

Bob noticed some similarities between Tuesday’s tornado and the inland hurricane that struck in 2009.

“The Patton area which got hit hard two years ago by that big storm looks like it did it again today. We did notice a lot of roofs off. We noticed a lot of barns blown apart. Tin all across the fields. A couple of travel trailers that were overturned. But we were very fortunate and we are thankful for that,” Eachus said.

More storms will be advancing through the region today and this weekend. Meteorologist Chris Noles says the storm is still developing and at the moment does not appear as capable of severe weather. However, he cautions that it could still produce isolated patches of hail and could even stir up occasional powerful storms and perhaps even another tornado.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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