New Year’s Eve tornadoes kill seven in Missouri, Arkansas
Storms hurt dozens, damage hundreds of buildings
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.”
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.