Severe weather hits Missouri
Wed, 29 Feb 2012 12:11:07 GMT —
Update: Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 7:21 p.m.:
BRANSON, Mo. (AP) -- The National Weather Service has confirmed that the heavy damage in the southwestern Missouri town of Branson was caused by a 22-mile-long tornado.
The agency's office in Springfield says an EF2 tornado with maximum speeds of 120 to 130 mph began at 1:13 a.m. Wednesday near the Stone County town of Kimberling City, then sped east-northeast.
Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Kardell says the twister skipped along the edge of Table Rock Lake, then went "right down the commercial district" of Branson. The tornado ended about 22 miles from where it began, just east of Kissee Mills Mills in Taney County.
The tornado's path had a maximum width of 400 yards. Besides the destruction in Branson, it also damaged or destroyed about 60 homes in the Kimberling City area.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Update: Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 8:35 a.m.:
BRANSON, Mo. (AP) -- More than 1,300 people overnight became fans of a Branson tornado information page on Facebook created in January by a University of Missouri Extension Service employee in anticipation of such a storm.
Greene County Extension spokesman David Burton says he created three Facebook pages similar to ones for last year's Joplin tornado and Missouri floods to get information to people and allow them to ask questions.
Burton says the number of people who had clicked "like" on the Branson page went from two on Tuesday to 50 at 5 a.m. It hit 1,300 by 8 a.m., and 15 minutes later the number was nearing 2,000 and rising at the rate of dozens per minute.
Burton also created tornado pages for Springfield and Greene County.
Meanwhile a hospital in Branson treated 32 people in the hours after a tornado hit the tourist destination.
A spokeswoman for Skaggs Regional Medical Center says most of those treated early Tuesday suffered only cuts and bruises. Six of the injured were still being treated about 8 a.m. Tuesday.
One person who was injured when a roof collapsed was transferred to a Springfield hospital.
Spokeswoman Michelle Leroux says the hospital's urgent care department treated four people for minor injuries.
The hospital was not damaged. Leroux says power was out at two non-clinical buildings but otherwise the hospital is operating normally.
At least one person has been killed in Southwest Missouri as possible tornadoes whipped the Midwest, causing numerous injuries and signifcant damage.
Lt. Dana Eagan of the Dallas County Sheriff's office said one person was killed and 13 others injured when a possible tornado hit a mobile home park south of Buffalo.
National Weather Service Meterorologist Mike Griffin said that in Branson, Missouri there were at least a dozen injuries including people trapped in their homes. He said the apparent tornado moved through downtown Branson, heavily damaging the city's famous theaters.
KRCG will be following this story throughout the rest of the morning and day.
(The Associated Press Contributed to this article)