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Yes, my hometown got hit by a tornado tonight, and, yes, my family and I are fine.
About 5:45 PM my grandmother called our business office to alert us tornados were in the area. As our house is only a few hundred feet away I orderd mom and dad to head home and get themselves and the dogs to the basement. I opted to stay at the office to shut down computers and I would join them in a few minutes.
I admit I took my time as we get tornado reports every year, but they usually end up being nothing, but as I stepped outside the rain had stopped and so had the wind. The air was completely still. For those of you who live near tornadoes, you know this means you really have one coming. As I had gone to the gym today, I had my car with me, so I hopped in it and probably broke a land speed record getting down to the house. Mom was in the doorway waiting to see if I was coming and I just yelled for her to go now, there probably wasn’t much time.
We did get all the dogs and ourselves down to the basement and then started listening on the radio for reports. There was a total of four funnel clouds in our county, two of those were within striking distance of Kirksville. The one that concerned me was the one coming east at 30 mph from Novinger, MO which, if you go in a straight line, would bring it awfully close to my house. It veered someone what to the North and ended up touching down a few miles north of us.
There are conflicting reports if there were any fatalities, but for sure some homes were destroyed, and a car dealership is beat up pretty badly with cars overturned and the building’s windows blown out.
Here is the official press release from the city:
(Kirksville, MO) — The E911 Dispatch Center has received reports of four tornados that touched down in Adair County this evening. Two of these cells were located near Novinger and were reported at approximately 5:48 pm. An additional tornado was reported in Kirksville at approximately 6:00 pm. The Fourth tornado was reported in the Troy Mills area.
The tornado in Kirksville touched down in the general area of Industrial Road and continued through Jim Robertson’s and to the general area of Bobwhite Drive. There have been numerous reports of substantial damage in the immediate area of this storm path. At this time, The City of Kirksville has not received any reports of fatalities and an few reports of minor injuries associated with this storm.
The Local Emergency Planning Commission activated the Emergency Operation Center at approximately 6:15 pm. All emergency personnel that have been called into service should report to the Department of Public Safety at Truman State University, Franklin Street.
Highway 63/Baltimore has been closed from the intersection of Baltimore and Highway 6 West to Highway T. The public is advised to stay clear of the area. There are power lines down and emergency personnel are on-site.
The only noticeable damage for us was when I returned to the warehouse to record CobWEBs tonight, my desktop wouldn’t boot. After talking with Dell, it seems static built up in my system and we got it working again in under a half hour.
Unfortunately, others in Kirksville were not as lucky.
UPDATE: This post is getting far more traffic than I anticipated as people are looking for updates on what happened. For actual news I suggest you check KTVO TV 3 and the Kirksville Daily Express for all of the latest local coverage.
Update 2: At least two people out in the area of Jim Robertson’s Chevrolet (see flipped car pic above) were killed. No names have been released at this time.
Update 3: I’ve made a post filled with videos of the Kirksville tornado and its aftermath.