The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 20, 2013

Storms cause damage throughout the Four States

From staff reports

— Four-State Area residents hunkered down twice Monday to ride out tornadoes and powerful spring storms, then went to work cleaning up.

The worst damage from Monday night’s storm was being reported in Ottawa County, Okla., near Wyandotte. That followed a report of an EF-1 tornado early Monday morning near Carthage.

Derek Derwin, public information officer for the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, said there were reports that a half-dozen homes had been damaged along East 130 Road, near Oklahoma Highway 137. Some of the homes lost roofs. Trees and power lines also were down.

“So far the damage is pretty localized,” he said, to about one-half mile to one mile along that road in a rural area.

A diesel shop in the area also was damaged.

Stan Willcox said he and his family were heading from their house toward the cellar when the storm hit. Everyone was OK, but one of his shop buildings was crushed by trees and the roof of his barn was destroyed. His house on East 130 Road had minor roof damage, and he was opening it to neighbors who needed a place to stay.

“Mine is fairly well intact,” he said of the roof.

There also were reports of wind damage at the Turtle Stop convenience store, 64499 E. Highway 60, in Wyandotte, with workers confirming damage to the awning over the diesel pumps.

There were no confirmed reports of injuries in the Wyandotte area Monday night.

There were no reports of damage in Cherokee County, Kan., but Pittsburg, Kan., residents reported power lines and large trees down, some over fences and one over a house in the Countryside neighborhood.

An area at the eastern edge of Pittsburg was hit hard by high winds, hail and heavy rain that passed through the area as tornado sirens sounded.

In Westfield Acres just outside the city limits to the west, neighbors ran chain saws until dark to help Jim and Johnna Russian clear a massive oak that fell on the kennel of their dog, Pepper, who was uninjured.

Kathleen Baker Stucky reported chain saw activity along Catalpa Street, and Cindy Riachi reported trees across Kansas Street.

Some residents in nearby Frontenac, Kan., reported power outages, where Debbie Restivo said “wind came roaring through.”

In Southwest Missouri, Power lines and some trees also were down Monday night in Newton County, mainly along U.S. Highway 60 in the Seneca area and in the western part of the county, said Sheriff Ken Copeland.

“I haven’t heard of any structures down or injuries,” Copeland said.

The sheriff said power was out in parts of Seneca.

High winds in Barton County blew down trees, and officials with the Sheriff’s Department said the damage was spotty, with localized reports of power outages.

There were no reports of damage in Lawrence County.

Joplin officials said the city escaped a round of storms that led to a tornado warning that expired at 7:15 p.m.

Keith Stammer, the Joplin-Jasper County emergency manager, said sirens were sounded three times: at 6:31 p.m., at 6:40 p.m. and again at 6:49 p.m.

“The first time was based on radar which indicated winds in excess of 70 mph,” Stammer said. The last two were in response to National Weather Service warnings that were issued, he said.

Joplin emergency services dispatchers said they had no reports of damage.

EF-1 hits Carthage

Winds estimated at 90 to 100 mph damaged buildings and toppled trees and power lines early Monday morning in the Carthage area. And in Dade County, a small tornado touched down early Monday at a golf course on the west side of Lockwood. The twister damaged the roof of a grocery store and uprooted some trees. The National Weather Service rated the tornado an EF-1 with winds estimated at 80 mph.

Officials with the National Weather Service station in Springfield confirmed evidence of a EF-1 tornado east of Carthage and other damage in the city that could have been from a tornado or strong, straight-line winds, said Steve Runnels, a meteorologist with the weather service.

“In the vicinity of Palomino Road and 13th Street, east of Carthage, we did see evidence of rotation in the debris,” he said. “There was additional damage in southeast Carthage, where there were lots of homes and trees affected. That also could have been a tornado, but the debris pattern could not confirm it.”

Chris Thompson, Carthage fire chief, said damage that started near Grand and Fairview avenues also appeared to have been from a tornado.

“It touched down there about 12:10 a.m. and continued northeast, outside of the city,” he said.

Thompson said the storm felled lots of large trees and knocked down power lines. He said 10 to 15 homes were damaged to some degree by falling trees. Several detached garages were destroyed, along with some outbuildings on property outside the city.

No injures were reported.

Power outage

At the worst of it, more than 700 customers of Carthage Water & Electric were without power. Chuck Bryant, electric superintendent, said crews had been working since the storm hit, and they expected by late Monday “to have most of our major issues resolved.”

“There still will be people without power because service has been pulled away from their homes and that will have to be fixed,” he said.

Bryant said some huge trees fell and brought down power lines inside the city, and there were several areas “where power poles were literally snapped in half by the wind.”

Because of the damage, the city of Carthage has temporarily waived the charge for residents to use the city recycling center to dispose of debris from the storm.

City crews starting Wednesday also will begin a curbside pickup of debris from the storm. Residents who do not want to take their waste to the recycling center can stack it at the street, behind the curb line. Crews will start in the south part of the city and work east to west, moving north, officials said. They expect the effort to take no more than two weeks, so residents are encouraged to complete their yard work as soon as possible so the debris can be picked up by the city.

Once the city pickup is complete, residents will be responsible for debris removal, and property code requirements will come into play if the debris is not cleared away.

Residents who need help from a tree trimming service should check to make sure the service will clear the debris from their property, the city said. They also need to make sure the company has insurance and a city license. City fees at the recycling center will not be waived for private contractors.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS contributed to this report.

Power outages

CUSTOMERS OF EMPIRE DISTRICT ELECTRIC CO. had outages early Monday after high winds took down transmission poles north of Columbus Kan. There also were scattered outages in the Webb City and Carthage areas that had been fixed by the end of the day Monday, according to Julie Maus, manager of media relations for the company.