The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Best of Branson

February 29, 2012

Weather Service reports multiple storm tracks through Southwest Missouri, Southeast Kansas

BRANSON Mo. — Multiple storm tracks may have spawned several tornadoes in Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri Tuesday night and early this morning.

The National Weather Service is reporting damage along at least four separate storm tracks.

“Right now it is kind of hard to tell,” said Jon Kurtz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield.

The worst two tracks were east of Joplin, near Buffalo and also near Branson, both after midnight.

He said a possible tornado formed near Kimberling City around 1:30 a.m. today.

“The tornado looked like it moved across Table Rock Lake and went right down (Missouri Highway) 76,” He said. “It went all the way down 76, across (U.S. Highway) 65, through Old Town, to the (Branson) Landing.”

He said there are no reports of any serious injuries or fatalities in Branson, possibly because the tornado occurred early in the morning when few people were in the business district, and also because it is the off-season for tourism.

A second stom hit Buffalo, northeast of Springfield, causing at least one fatality in a mobile home park before moving toward Lebanon, hitting the Tracker boat plant along Interstate 44.

“A lot of sheet metal and a lot of boats were thrown around,” he said.

A third storm track, this one developing around 10 p.m. Tuesday, hit Crawford County, Kan., and then Barton County, Mo. Trees and limbs are down and roof damage is being reported in Pittsburg, Kan., and Lamar, Mo.

Weather service officials said it is too early to know if the damage was caused by a tornado, and could have been caused by winds of 70 miles per hour or more. There also were reports of golfball-sized hail in Crawford County.

A fourth storm moved through McDonald and Barry counties in Missouri and rolled a trailer home near Cassville, according to the National Weather Service station in Springfield.

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