10 killed in southern Illinois, 1 in southeast Missouri after storms

Published: Feb. 29, 2012 at 2:35 PM CST
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Heartland News has received reports of 10 people killed in the Harrisburg, Ill. after a possible tornado swept through the area.  Two of the victims are children.  One man was killed in Stoddard County.  One person was killed in southwest Missouri.

Missouri Gov. Jan Nixon has declared a state of emergency.

Heartland News has two multi-media journalists covering the Harrisburg area.  Arnold Wyrick says 35 to 40 homes are destroyed.  Rescue and recovery efforts are underway as emergency crews look for three to five missing people.  Several people are being loaded into ambulances.

He says he sees mattresses hanging from trees.  He says the windows and doors have been blown out of the Wal-Mart in town.  Several businesses are destroyed on the south side of town.

The Harrisburg school superintendent says Harrisburg Middle School sustained some damage.  School is called off for the remainder of the week.

Tyler Profilet reports a lot of damage in the Harrisburg area, including semi trucks tipped over.  One man says it sounded like a freight train as he hid in a closet with his son.  Several emergency crews from numerous departments are responding to the area.

Power lines are downed in the area.  Several roads are block off in Harrisburg.  One of the roads blocked off leads to the hospital in town.

Saline County Emergency Management asks people to stay off their cell phones if possible as heavy phone traffic is jamming the system.  They ask people to text only is possible.  Sightseeers are asked to stay at home.

[See a slideshow of damage across the Heartland.]

The First Baptist Church in Harrisburg has been set up as a Red Cross shelter.  Illinois State Police are asking for no more volunteers in the Harrisburg area.

Heartland News has received reports of damage in the Puxico, Oak Ridge, and Marquand areas.  Stoddard County is setting up an emergency management post.

One person has died after the storms in Stoddard County.

Stoddard County Sheriff Carl Hefner says several mobile homes in the area are destroyed in Stoddard County.  He says there were residents ejected from a mobile home and two people airlifted to a hospital in Cape Girardeau.  One of those people died.  The damage is along County Roads 266 and 257 east of Puxico and tracked to the northeast to the Leora area.

Hefner says another home was destroyed on a county road, tool sheds blown away, equipment blown around, numerous power lines are down.  There are no reports of fatalities in Stoddard county.  Hefner says they started receiving calls around 4 a.m.

Dale Moreland with Stoddard County EMA says one mobile home was moved about 200 feet.

Moreland says crews are working on County Road 249 and County Road 271 is blocked.

Highway Patrol Trooper Clark Parrott says large trees are down along Route M in Stoddard County.

Johnnie Clark, the city manager in Puxico, says most of the damage is in the rural areas near town.  He says crews are assisting people in rural areas.  No major damage is reported in Puxico city limits.

The school and a church sustained damage in Oak Ridge, Mo.

Pulaski County, Illinois EMS Director Ken Kerley says wreckers and vehicles were blown from their location and crossing arms broke off and blew into a squad car.

Paul Carter with McCracken County EMA says the northwest part of county sustained damage.  One mobile home was destroyed on New Liberty & Gibbs Rd.  Two people had to be rescued and are seriously injured.  One mobile home was destroyed on Old Ogden Landing Rd. Fourd people were injured including one child. No details on the extent of injuries.  Multiple buildings are damaged.  An RV was blown over.  High voltage power lines are down in the Cross Country area.  Trees are on mobile homes.  Norton Creek Baptist Church in the Raglin area has minor damage.  EMA is still checking homes for damage.

The National Weather Service is sending three teams to survery the damage.

Team 1 (Rick Shanklin, Ken Ludington) - Harrisburg west toward Cape Girardeau County MO
Team 2 (Kelly Hooper, Shane Luecke) - Newburg IN West toward Harrisburg IL)
Team 3 (Christine Wielgos, Debbie Hooper) - Metropolis IL west toward Stoddard co. MO)

Note this may change as storms are in western Kentucky.  They hope to finish the surveys by late Thursday, given the severe weather threat on Friday.

See pictures and video of storm damage from cNews.  Submit photos and video to cnews@kfvs12.com.

Another death in southwest Missouri happened when a possible tornado hit a mobile home park in southwest Missouri, south of Buffalo, said Lt. Dana Eagan of the Dallas County Sheriff's Office. Another 13 people at the trailer park were injured, she said. Crews would begin searching the area once the sun came up, Eagan said.

The storm also knocked out power to all of Buffalo, Eagan said.

Other hard-hit were areas in southwest Missouri included Branson and Lebanon.

In Branson, there were at least a dozen injuries including people trapped in their homes, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Griffin said. The apparent tornado moved through downtown Branson, heavily damaging the city's famous theaters, Griffin said.

Searchers there were going house to house early Wednesday, Taney County Sheriff Jimmie Russell. He said he didn't know how many injuries there were or how severe they were.

After hitting the Midwest, the weather system was headed to Kentucky and Tennessee, Griffin.

Elsewhere, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency late Tuesday after an apparent tornado struck Harveyville.

The declaration covered Wabaunsee County, southwest of Topeka. A news release from the governor's office said one person was critically injured and "a number of homes" and a church were damaged, and trees and power lines were down.

Earlier, the National Weather Service reported brief tornado touchdowns southwest of Hutchinson, Kan.

Stay with Heartland News and kfvs12.com for updates.

As of 7:40 a.m., Ameren Missouri reports outages in:

  • 10 in Cape Girardeau County
  • 23 in Iron County
  • 23 in Jefferson County
  • 10 in Madison County
  • 26 in Pemiscot County
  • 177 in Saint Francois County
  • 21 in Washington County

As of 7:30 a.m., Ameren Illinois reports outages in:

  • 836 in Alexander County
  • 6 in Franklin County
  • 2462 in Gallatin County
  • 52 in Jackson County
  • 19 in Johnson County
  • 53 in Perry County
  • 1242 in Pulaski County
  • 76 in Randolph County
  • 6530 in Saline County
  • 1261 in Union County
  • 377 in Williamson County

The National Weather Service reports storm damage from the severe storms that swept through the Heartland early Wednesday morning.

6:03 a.m. - Dime size hail reported with the storm south of Zion, Ky. in Henderson County.

5:40 a.m. - A few barns and a machine shed blown down. Porch blown off of home in Oscar, Ky. in Ballard County.

5:37 a.m. - Southeast portion of Harrisburg, Ill. experienced major damage. Possible one death but no confirmed. Search and rescue in process at this time.

5:25 a.m. - 60 plus mph winds reported and dime size hail in Round Knob, Ill.

5:20 a.m. - Mobile home destroyed along Ogden Landing Road in West Paducah, Ky. Late report.

5:20 a.m. - one injury -Emergency manager reporting widespread damage across the northern third of Cape Girardeau County.  Manager is asking for no one to enter the area to allow emergency services to respond. Possible tornado. 1 man injured after home collapsed on him.

5:18 a.m. - Highway 45 is closed south of the community.

5:06 a.m. - Widespread trees and power lines down in Ridgway, Ill in Gallatin County. Numerous homes and one church damaged. Late report.

5:03 a.m. - Possible tornado damage north and west of Mounds, Ill. and near exit 8 along Interstate 57. Spotter had a cross arm ripped off a railroad sign and missiled through his vehicle.

4:56 a.m. - Confirmed tornado by trained spotter. Approaching the south side of Harrisburg.

4:56 a.m. - Electrical transformers flashing west of Harrisburg, Ill. Possible tornado.

4:43 a.m. - Possible tornado. Power flashes south of Marion, Illinois.  Appears to be electrical transformers blowing up.

4:41 a.m. - Golf ball size hail reported near the community of Neelyville, Mo.

4:40 a.m. - Dime size hail reported south of Marion, Illinois.

4:36 a.m. - Widespread power outages reported in Marion, Ill.

4:30 a.m. - Numerous power outages with large amount of tree debris in Dexter. Mo. Winds estimated 55 mph.

4:30 a.m. - Dime size hail reported with heavy rain in Doniphan.

4:22 a.m. - Quarter size hail. Power outages reported in the Carbondale, Illinois area.

4:18 a.m. -Line of damage from Oak Ridge to Pocahantas, Missouri. Numerous structural and tree damage. Power outages. No injures reported at this time. Possible tornado.

3:59 a.m. - Numerous home structure damage in Oak Ridge. Widespread trees and power lines down. Damage observed by fire rescue teams and relayed to E0C. Possible tornado. No injuries reported at this time.

3:57 a.m. - outbuildings damaged in Sedgewickville spotted by a trained spotter.

3:33 a.m. - Ping pong size hail along Highway V in town. Wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph associated with the storm in Ellsinore.  Spotted by a trained spotter.

3:30 a.m. - Antenna ripped off of home in Ellsinore. Late report.

3:25 a.m. - 6-8 homes have roof damage along Highway 72 near Patton, Mo. in Bolllinger County. 10 larger barns destroyed over a 5 mile area. Tree damage is widespread. Numerous power poles down.

3:23 a.m. - .75 inch hail reported by law enforcement in Van Buren.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.  The Associated Press contributed to report.