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Morning headlines: Thursday, May 26, 2011

(Screen capture via YouTube user mbost89)
A video screen capture of damage sustained in Sedalia, Mo. from a tornado that ripped through the area Wednesday afternoon. Injuries were reported but no one was killed.

Severe Weather and Tornadoes Hit Missouri...Again

Storms capable of producing tornadoes pounded parts of the state Wednesday afternoon.

In Sedalia, Mo., a tornado destroyed dozens of mobile homes and heavily damaged several businesses along one of the city's main highways. No one was killed and only 15-to-25 minor injuries were reported.

Acting Police Chief Larry Ward says despite all the damage, it feels like Sedalia dodged a bullet.

"Obviously, we've had damage to folks' homes, some of them have been completely destroyed, and we take that very serious," said Ward. "But we all know as a result of Joplin, it could have been very much worse."

The tornado struck Sedalia's school bus facility, forcing the cancellation of the rest of the school year.

The Pettis County's Emergency Management director says a preliminary estimate rates the tornado as an F-1 or F-2. The massive tornado that struck Joplin on Sunday was an F-5.

Joplin Residents Continue Search for the Missing

People in Joplin are posting messages online and calling into local radio stations by the hundreds as they search for missing loved ones who they still can't find after the deadly tornado hit on Sunday. Some are even painting messages on cars and on scattered debris as they look for family and friends.

At a press conference Wednesday evening, Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr says 125 people are confirmed dead, raising the death toll by three.

Sunday night's tornado is the nation's deadliest single tornado since 1950.

Several Mo. State Parks Not Open Due to Bacteria

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says the planned openings of three Missouri State Park swim beaches have been postponed and a fourth beach has been temporarily closed due to elevated bacteria levels.

The openings of the swimming beaches at Lake of the Ozarks State Park and the beach at Cuivre River State Park scheduled for this weekend, have been postponed. Hermitage Beach at Pomme de Terre State Park, has been temporarily closed.

Every week, the agency tests the water for E. coli, which is a common indicator species for bacteria. Samples taken on Monday indicate bacteria levels higher than those recommended for swimming. The state agency says the higher bacteria levels are often associated with heavy rains that result in runoff from adjacent lands. 


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