St. Louis Public Radio News
2:33 pm
Mon May 5, 2003

Tornadoes Rip Through Southwest Missouri

Kansas City, MO – The storms that killed at least 19 people in Missouri and Kansas was not as harsh when it rolled through St. Louis Sunday night, but the region was under a tornado watch for most of the night.

The worst damage from Sunday's storms seems to be in the southwestern Missouri county of Lawrence, where the sheriff there estimates a dozen deaths. Police say the downtown area of the small town of Pierce City was wiped out.

Flights were kept away from Kansas City's airport, where people inside were evacuated at one point.

Damage at William Jewell College in the Kansas City suburb of Liberty has forced final exams to be cancelled.

Governor Bob Holden was in Kansas City yesterday, and visited the suburb of Northmoor. He'll be in Pierce City Monday, to get a first-hand look at the tornado damage there. He has promised to seek federal disaster aid for Missouri.

The death toll in Missouri is highest in Lawrence and Camden counties. Three people are confirmed dead in each county; two people were killed at Carl Junction, in Jasper County. Christian, Barry, Greene and Barton County are reporting one death each. A total of seven people are confirmed dead in Kansas, most of them in the southeast part of the state.