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NWS upgrades St. Mary, Chester tornado to EF3

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 2:45 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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ST. MARY, Mo./CHESTER, Ill. (KFVS) - The National Weather Service upgraded a tornado that traveled from Coffman to St. Mary, Mo. and then to Chester, Ill. to an EF3.

It was upgraded on Tuesday, October 26.

UPDATE: The Coffman (MO) - St. Mary (MO) - Chester (IL) tornado has been upgraded to an EF-3, with the worst damage on Route AA between State Route F and Pleasant Hill Church Road south of Hawn State Park.

Posted by US National Weather Service Saint Louis Missouri on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

According to the NWS, the worst damage was on Route AA between State Route F and Pleasant Hill Church Road south of Hawn State Park.

Storms carved a path of downed trees, blocked roads, caused power outages and destroyed homes from Coffman through St. Mary.

On Wednesday, utility companies continued to work to restore services as quickly as they can.

Curt Iffert is the vice president of operations for Citizens Electric.

He said about 600 customers were without power after the storm; however, he said his crew members and contractors have restored power to most of those people.

“Between our Citizen Electric crews and them, we did very well, I think,” he said. “We ended up having the majority of the backbone of the infrastructure back on by 7 o’clock yesterday evening. Then we’re working on some small outages today.”

Iffert said they have about a handful of members that are still without services.

The population of St. Mary is just more than 350 people, but for such a small town, there was a lot of damage.

One 7th Street resident said she and her husband actually put their three children under a mattress in their basement, and then laid on top of them to keep them safe. They came upstairs to find a tree on their house, their shed destroyed and a lot of damage to the main level.

Police Chief Adam Bequette said if you don’t live in St. Mary, you don’t need to come here. He wants to make sure residents can safely get in and out of their neighborhoods.

The storm destroyed an iconic red barn located off of Route 3 near Chester. The barn was once part of a dairy farm and remained a marker for drivers heading into town.

The 95-year old owner of the barn was in bed in his home next door. The strong winds blew down tree limbs around his house but he wasn’t hurt.

Ameren crews worked to restore power, and residents cleaned up the mess left behind. They were thankful no one was hurt.

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