Storms cause damage throughout county

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

County residents had early warning when last Monday meteorologists forewarned of a stormy Wednesday to come. Because of the warning many area churches and school events were cancelled to ensure the safety of those who would be attending. They were not mistaken as storm cells moved into the area Wednesday afternoon.

First responders were called out at 6 p.m. that evening as the first of many strong winds blew into the area, causing numerous vehicles to overturn. While safety officials worked to extricate those who were trapped and provide aid to the injured, they were forced to take cover at the scene as the storms strengthened.

In the southern portion of the county, strong winds knocked down power lines and trees, in Caruthersville, six power lines were destroyed and several roofs and sheds were ripped apart. Along Route D, tree limbs caused damage to homes, sheds and vehicles but no injuries were reported outside of those in the overturned vehicles.

Saturday evening county residents were once again on guard as the weather stations warned of more severe weather passing through the community. A few small storms rumbled through the evening, knocking out power in a few areas. However it was in the early morning hours that tornado sirens sounded warning residents to take cover immediately.

The storm was the worst of the week, causing a large number of trees to split and be uprooted, throughout the county, sheds and carports were lost and a mobile home was completely destroyed on the East Outer Road near the Concord overpass just south of Wardell. In Hayti and Gobbler, severe damage was seen across the town. Some so severe families were forced to leave their homes.

Jess Cagle, of the Pemiscot County Sheriff’s Office, immediately contacted the American Red Cross setting up a shelter for the families at the Armory building in Caruthersville. Fortunately, no serious injuries or fatalities were reported.

First responders remind residents of the importance of having a plan in place and emergency supplies on hand. Meteorologist work hard to provide early warnings sometimes even days before the event, giving families the opportunity to make sure they have everything they need should the worst happen.

Every home should have working flashlights and need to understand candles should not be used as they are a fire hazard and a severe risk should gas lines rupture during the storm. The entire family must know what to do and where to go when the sirens sound. Those with pets should have a carrier or a leash to keep their animals safe. Having a plan in place saves lives.

It is also important to remember when the National Weather Service issues a “watch”, it means there is a potential for severe or dangerous weather and residents should be watching the weather and prepared should it get bad. When a “warning” is issued, it means residents should be moving to their shelter or area of safety. Local storm spotters in Pemiscot County work hard to watch the skies when storms roll through, when the sirens sound, it means a tornado has been spotted and residents should immediately take cover and hold until the sirens are turned off and the storm has moved on. Many times, the National Weather Service warning will end before the local sirens have stopped. Stay safe and stay in place until the local sirens end.

Many residents shared their appreciation of the numerous police officers who drove through neighborhoods with their sirens blaring, providing another measure of warning to residents.

On Sunday, some residents were still without power as linemen worked to restore poles and lines that had been severed. We appreciate the many men and women who work to provide the county residents with service and protection.