5 dead, multiple injured after EF2 tornado in Bollinger Co., Mo.

Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 5:06 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2023 at 5:38 AM CDT
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BOLLINGER COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - At least five people are dead and multiple injured after an early morning tornado in Bollinger County on Wednesday, April 5.

According to Colonel Eric Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, in addition to the five people killed, five others were injured when the tornado hit the county.

Col. Olson said MSHP Troop E received a notification around 3:22 a.m. of a tornado in the Glenallen area.

He said shortly after they received reports of damage and injuries. They had troopers on scene by around 3:50 a.m. to begin searching for people and assessing damage.

In addition, Olson said preliminary numbers on the amount of damage include at least 87 structures that have been damaged, with 12 of those destroyed.

According to the National Weather Service, preliminary information from the survey team shows high-end EF2 tornado damage in the Glenallen area of Bollinger County with a path length of 22.3 miles.

They said estimated peak winds at this time were 130 mph and the maximum width was 150 yards.

Governor Mike Parson came to Glenallen on Wednesday to tour the area and survey the tornado damage.

The governor spoke after the tour.

Gov. Parson thanked the many first responders for their work throughout the morning and day.

He recognized Woodland High School for opening their doors around 4 or 5 a.m. as a command center to help people in need.

He said, looking at the devastation in the area, it would be weeks upon months to recover. He said it would be a long journey ahead for the people that live there.

Governor Parson added that the President of the United States called him on his way to Glenallen.

“...wanted to make sure all the people here knew that he was thinking about them. Anything he could do to help, he offered those services, and he wanted me to especially thank all of the emergency people that were on the ground doing their jobs here,” he said.

The governor ended by saying there’s a lot of work to be done, but, right now, it’s about the families, it’s about the loved ones and it’s about picking up the pieces.

Earlier on Wednesday, the governor said Executive Order 23-03 activating the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan and the Missouri National Guard in response to severe weather, is still in effect.

According to Governor Parson, the Red Cross opened a shelter at Marble Hill Baptist Church, 502 Broadway St., for those affected by the tornado.

According to Governor Parson, the Red Cross opened a shelter at Marble Hill Baptist Church, 502 Broadway St., for those affected by the tornado.

Bollinger County Sheriff Casey Graham received the call at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

The storm seemed to move quickly, he said.

“The citizens seem to be holding up well,” he said. “The outpouring support is tremendous.”

They reached out to multiple agencies for assistance, he said.

The county has received help from over 25 agencies on scene and hundreds of personnel.

Sheriff Graham said he wanted residents to know that they are going to provide all the resources they can.

“We’re going to help everyone in the county if they need our assistance,” Graham said.

According to Sgt. Clark Parrott with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, they’ve looked at 123 homes in the Glenallen area, 34 of them didn’t have any damage.

Cape Girardeau County EMA Director Mark Winkler asked that people do not go to the area to look around.

A look at the widespread tornado damage in Bollinger County, Mo. on Wednesday, April 5.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the tornado touched down just before 4 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5.

MSHP said the tornado touched down in the area of Highway 34 near Grassy to the north of Marble Hill on Highway 51.

Crews searched debris to make sure everyone is accounted for.

A command center was set up at Woodland High School in Marble Hill. Highway 34 is blocked off on both sides of the command center.

Shortly after the storm passed, there was a strong smell of gas in the area of Highway ZZ and Highway 34 in Glenallen.

MSHP said there were reports of a natural gas leak at the M and G substation. Crews have been able fix the issue.

Debris from a structure could also be seen on Highway M near Diana’s Boarding in Scopus.

Hundreds of customers are also without power.

Between 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m., a tornado warning was issued for Bollinger County and trained spotter reported seeing a tornado on the ground shortly after 3:30 a.m.

Residents react

Sheoby Davidson took cover in a bathtub with others when the tornado hit.

“It was breathtaking,” she said. “I don’t even know. The mess that there is, the trees that are down...All the other people that are affected by it. But all the people that came together to help, it’s awesome to know that we have a community like that.”

Devin Sutton said he first saw the storm outside. His fiance said he came inside and yelled a warning.

“He just said run, run, run!”

For now, they’re staying at a disaster recovery center in town. For the long term, they’re still figuring that out.