Tornado | St. Louis Public Radio


Engineering researchers noted damages caused by the tornado and by debris that flew because of strong winds.
File photo | Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration to help residents in 20 Missouri counties who have experienced major damage from tornadoes and floods this year. 

The declaration allows homeowners to apply for grants to cover repair costs and replacement of household items not covered by insurance. Business owners and farmers also can apply for loans for property damage caused by extreme weather events. 

Missouri is among several states that have been hit hard by natural disasters this year, said John Mills, a regional spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Missouri S&T engineering researchers inspect a damaged apartment building in Jefferson City in May 2019.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Among the volunteers and workers moving furniture, broken lumber and fallen trees at Hawthorne Park apartments in Jefferson City last weekend, three engineers with a large remote control watched a drone fly over a building that was missing a chunk of its roof.

A team of engineering professors and students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology began inspecting damages after a violent tornado struck parts of the state capital last Wednesday. For several years, some have been studying ways to design houses in Tornado Alley states like Missouri to withstand extreme weather events.

Missouri S&T engineering professor Grace Yan and her students survey post-tornado damages in Jefferson City in May 2019.
Missouri University of Science & Technology

Engineering researchers from the Missouri University of Science and Technology are spending several days in Jefferson City to study the destruction caused by a tornado that battered the city late Wednesday.

Missouri S&T engineering professor Grace Yan and her graduate students began Thursday to interview residents and capture drone footage of the damages. Her research has focused on designing buildings to become more resistant to tornadoes.

There have been many examples of damages in Jefferson City that are unique to tornadoes, such as roofs being torn off, Yan said.

Cleaning Up After A Tornado Strikes Taylorville

Dec 3, 2018

Sunday brought daylight and a chance to view the magnitude of damage in Taylorville.  Many residents spent the day removing debris and helping neighbors after a tornado roared through the Christian County community on Saturday afternoon.

Sue Spencer surveys what remains of her home on County Road 806 in Perryville. A tornado tore through the area in late February, destroying the home she lived in for three decades.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The sirens started a little before 8 p.m. on the last night of February. Residents of Perry County, in southeastern Missouri,  retreated to their basements — many of them not expecting the incoming tornado with a 14-mile-long and half-mile-wide path. Within an hour, the tornado had killed one man, damaged more than 100 homes and leveled dozens more.  

Three months later, there are signs that rebuilding is underway. Structures now stand where fallen trees, busted up car frames, and mangled bits of homes were scattered before. Perryville’s residents are recovering, hiring contractors, negotiating with insurance companies, and even managing the aftermath of severe flooding in April.

Carrie Tripp, with the Perry County School District, spent Wednesday helping residents clean their damaged homes. (March, 1, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4 p.m., March 1, 2017 — Residents of Perryville, Mo., are recovering from a tornado that ripped through the town late Tuesday, killing one man and damaging more than 100 homes.

Many homes in the community about 90 miles south of St. Louis were left only with a foundation, Perryville Fire Chief Jeremy Triller said.

Among those who lost their homes to the tornado was Lisa Ervin, who works at the Subway in Marble Hill, Mo. Her A-frame house was destroyed.

“It’s no longer there,” she said. “Our attic is over there in our neighbor’s yard.”

Washington is just starting to rebuild.

Much of the central Illinois town was wiped away by a half-mile-wide tornado in November. In all, 1,108 homes were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable — a huge share of the housing stock in a city of 15,000.

"Early on, people were asking me how long it was going to take to rebuild the city, and I said we'll do it in a year," says Mayor Gary Manier. "That was wishful thinking."

Author Lee Sandlin On The History Of Tornado Chasing

Apr 2, 2014
Frank Blau Photography

This is the time of year when we begin to worry about severe weather. From thunderstorms to hail, high winds to tornados, we get more than our share. 

Cindy Shuford and her daughter
Provided by the family

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Cindy Shuford of Washington, Ill., was at church Sunday when word came that a tornado was fast approaching. Taking cover in one of the building’s windowless rooms, Shuford first thought of her 22-year-old daughter, working the deli counter at Kroger.

“I just kept thinking of her, and I wanted to see her face,” Shuford said, in a telephone interview.

The National Weather Service says there were a total of nine tornadoes in the St. Louis region on Friday night.

Tim Lloyd, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Attorney General's office is warning the public to be on guard against price gouging following last week's round of tornadoes and thunderstorms that pounded the St. Louis area.

Joe Bindbeutel is Chief Counsel of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.  He says so far they've received some second-hand reports of price gouging.

Severe Weather Hits St. Louis Area

Apr 18, 2013
(via Wikimedia Commons/FEMA Photo Library)

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for St. Louis City and several Missouri counties, including Iron, Jefferson, Madison, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve and Washington. The Tornado Watch is in effect until 11 a.m.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 10, 2013 - After a killer tornado tore through Harrisburg, Ill., on Leap Day 2012, residents found that it not only takes a village to rebuild a community, it also takes a little help from their friends.

And, in this case, those friends were volunteers -- about 6,000 of them -- who traveled from near and far to help pick up the pieces of the shattered lives of people they didn’t know in a little city that most had never heard of deep in southern Illinois.

Wrongful death suit filed in wake of Joplin disaster

Sep 17, 2012
(UPI/Rick Meyer)

The wife and daughter of man killed inside a Walmart store when a massive tornado hit Joplin are suing.

The Joplin Globe reported that the wrongful death lawsuit names Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the store's manager as defendants. The case, initially filed in Jasper County Circuit Court, was transferred Friday to federal court.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder is asking the State Emergency Management Agency to explain why the St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton has not received $500,000 in FEMA funds to help it recover from the 2011 Good Friday tornado.

Kinder chairs an interim legislative committee on disaster preparedness, response and recovery, which agreed today to give SEMA 48 hours to respond.  

Harrisburg tornado's death toll rises to 8, months after storm

Jun 1, 2012
UPI/Paul Newton/The Southern

A February tornado that tore through a section of the southern Illinois town of Harrisburg has claimed an eighth victim.

Saline County's coroner says 74-year-old R. Blaine Mauney of Harrisburg died Thursday at a relative's home of injuries he sustained in the Feb. 29 tornado Feb. 29.

According to authorities, Mauney had been in several hospitals since the tornado that injured about 100 other people.

Mauney's funeral services are pending.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 20, 2012 - If you live in Missouri, Illinois, or any neighboring states, your chances are pretty good for coming under a tornado watch or warning, or even the real thing. This week, the National Weather service confirmed 59 tornadoes over the previous weekend, striking Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

A massive tornado tore through the St. Louis area a year ago this Sunday. Lambert Airport was hit particularly hard, but few signs of the damage remain today.  

Congressman Lacy Clay of St. Louis recalls seeing the airport just hours after the tornado struck on Good Friday.

“Once I got to the airport, I could not believe all of the glass that was blown out of the structure," Clay said. "And then looking at the parking lot: seeing the cars and vans that were on top of each other. It was just amazing.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 19, 2012 - WASHINGTON — Shocked that the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied disaster aid to tornado-struck Illinois counties, the state’s two U.S. senators are jointly sponsoring a bill they say would make such decisions fairer and more predictable.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 5, 2012 - A month after the Leap Day Tornado, Bonita Humphrey of Harrisburg, Ill., was digging up plants from around her front porch, hoping to save them from being trampled during repair work on her home.

Humphrey’s white frame house suffered broken windows and damage to the porch and roof, which is now covered by a patchwork of colorful plastic sheeting, but it withstood the 170-mph winds that battered Granger Street as the tornado blew through this town of about 9,000 in Saline County. Many nearby homes, including a brick bungalow next door, were wrecked beyond repair.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 2, 2012 - Under the cheerful blue sky of a late March morning, a handful of volunteers armed with crowbars and hammers and a sense of purpose muscled their way through a tornado-wrecked house in Harrisburg, Ill., dragging the shattered remains of what used to be someone’s home into a Dumpster.

Quinn announces aid to southern Ill. tornado victims

Apr 2, 2012
(UPI/Steve Jahnke /The Southern)

Harrisburg and other southern Illinois communities affected by a deadly tornado in February are getting up to $13 million in state and Small Business Administration aid.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office announced Monday that the help includes reimbursements to local governments for some of their disaster-related expenses and road improvements. The aid also involves grants for home repairs and low-interest loans to storm-affected businesses.

New, ramped-up tornado warnings to start Monday

Apr 1, 2012
(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

As of Monday, the National Weather Service will be issuing a new kind of tornado warning in Missouri and Kansas.

The new, more forceful and explicit messages are designed to get attention and drive people to take shelter during dangerous storms.

Tornado-damaged C Concourse to reopen at Lambert Airport April 2

Mar 27, 2012
(Screen Capture via YouTube)

Remember seeing this video? This was what happened to the C Concourse at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport almost a year ago.

The video shows what happened when a tornado ripped through the St. Louis area. The good news? The damaged C Concourse is about to reopen.

Morning headlines: March 22, 2012

Mar 22, 2012
(New Orleans Saints Press Kit)

Gregg Williams apologizes

Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is apologizing to the NFL, to St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams organization and football fans in general for running a bounty pool while he was in New Orleans.

Williams was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday by the NFL, and the Rams say he'll be eligible for reinstatement after the season.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 21, 2021 - CHICAGO – Despite an appeal by Illinois' governor and congressional delegation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency declined Wednesday for the second time to grant federal “major disaster” aid for tornado-struck areas in the southern part of the state.

“The fact that the federal government has denied disaster aid – and done so with little explanation – defies logic,” said U.S Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 15, 2012 - Missouri  Gov. Jay Nixon just announced that the federal Small Business Administration will provide financial assistance, in the form of loans, to eligible residents and businesses in 14 Missouri counties who suffered damage during the severe storms and tornadoes that struck southern Missouri in late February.

Durbin predicts FEMA will fund Ill. tornado cleanup

Mar 14, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 14, 2012 - WASHINGTON – After meeting with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Wednesday that he has “no doubt” that the tornado-struck counties in southern Illinois will end up being eligible for federal disaster aid.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 13, 2012 - WASHINGTON – Nearly two weeks after tornadoes and severe storms swept across the Midwest, Sen. Dick Durbin took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to blast the Federal Emergency Management agency as “out of touch” for denying disaster aid to hard-hit Illinois.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 13, 2012 - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that he has formally asked the Small Business Administration for aid in response to recent storms that killed three in southern Missouri.

Nixon did so after confirming Monday that he won’t appeal the decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny federal help. Nixon said that he feared an appeal would delay action by the SBA or other federal agencies.