New Year’s Eve tor­na­does kill seven in Mis­souri, Arkansas

Storms hurt dozens, dam­age hun­dreds of build­ings

The Washington Post Sunday - - FROM PAGE ONE - BY HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH

kansas city, mo.— Shaken res­i­dents spent New Year’s Day sift­ing through the wreck­age wrought by tor­na­does that touched down in sev­eral states on the last day of 2010, killing seven peo­ple and in­jur­ing dozens of oth­ers.

Six peo­ple — three in Mis­souri and three in Arkansas — died Fri­day as tor­na­does fu­eled by un­usu­ally warm air pum­meled the South and Mid­west. A sev­enth per­son who was in­jured Fri­day near the Mis­souri town of Rolla died Satur­day.

The woman, 74-year-old Ethel Price, was en­ter­tain­ing a friend, Alice Cox, 69, of Belle, Mo., in her trailer when the twis­ter hit.

The women were found un­der a pile of de­bris, and all that re­mained of the trailer was the frame, said Bruce Southard, the chief of the Rolla Ru­ral Fire Depart­ment. “It’s like you set a bomb off in it,” he said. “It just an­ni­hi­lated it.”

In Mis­souri, state of­fi­cials re­ceived ini­tial re­ports from nine coun­ties that as many as 280 homes and other struc­tures were dam­aged and that at least 50 of them were de­stroyed. Es­pe­cially hard hit was the St. Louis area, where more than 100 struc­tures were dam­aged or de­stroyed.

The Mis­sis­sippi Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency said that 39 homes and 40 busi­nesses were de­stroyed or se­ri­ously dam­aged by the storms. The tor­na­does knocked down trees and power lines. About six inches of rain fell in places, lead­ing to flash flood­ing.

And emer­gency man­age­ment of­fi­cials in Arkansas say 14 homes and one busi­ness in Washington County were dam­aged, while in Benton County, 13 homes and five busi­nesses were dam­aged.

Mis­souri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) be­gan the new year meet­ing with emer­gency work­ers, cleanup crews and res­i­dents in the heav­ily dam­aged St. Louis County town of Sun­set Hills be­fore head­ing to Rolla.

“It is de­struc­tion un­like any­thing I’ve seen,” said Nixon spokesman Sam Murphey, who was part of the tour. “It’s in­cred­i­ble.”

In the north­west­ern Arkansas town of Cincin­nati, vol­un­teers from as far away as Ohio came to help af­ter a twis­ter pack­ing winds up to 140mph killed three peo­ple. Ger­ald Wil­son, 88, and his wife, Mamie, 78, died in their home, and Dick Mur­ray, 78, was killed as he was milk­ing cows.

Sgt. Richard Green of the county sher­iff ’s of­fice said res­i­dents in the town of about 100 peo­ple were “do­ing as good as can be ex­pected.”

RICK GUY/CLAR­ION-LEDGER VIA AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A home in Pearl, Mo., was dam­aged by the tor­na­does that hit Mis­souri and Arkansas on Fri­day. The twis­ters were fu­eled by un­usu­ally warm air in the South andMid­west.

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