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Update: Tornado Confirmed in Branson Area

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/update-tornado-confirmed-branson-area_32782.mp3

The National Weather Service has confirmed that an EF-2 tornado crossed between Stone and Taney Counties early Wednesday morning. Officials are still investigating the path of the storms in Dallas County to determine if there was, in fact, a tornado there. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark reports.


Investigators from the weather service spent much of Wednesday surveying the damage caused by a line of storms that swept through Southwest Missouri. Ryan Kardell, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, confirmed that a tornado did cause the damage around Kimberling City and Branson.


“They rated the damage points there and along that track is an EF-2. The survey team also did go visit Pittsburg, Kansas. At the very beginning of where the damage started to occur of the northern storm that eventually went up through Buffalo, but started off in far eastern Kansas, they determined out there that that was a straight-lined wind event of 100-120 miles per hour in Pittsburg, Kansas.”

He says the meteorology teams are still investigating other areas where damage occurred.

In Branson, Skaggs Regional Medical Center received 37 patients following the tornado's touchdown. Michelle Leroux, Media Relations Specialist for Skaggs, says that most of the injuries ranged from minor to moderate, and patients mainly had cuts and abrasions.

“We did have one critically injured patient who was transferred to a Springfield hospital. That injury was a result of a roof collapse, and we did have one individual who had suffered from a broken leg. The latest update that we have really is that things are starting to slow down a little bit. We have treated and released all of the patients that have come in for those minor to moderate treatments.”

In Dallas County, just south of Buffalo, there were multiple injuries and a fatality. Jason Wendlandt is the county's Emergency Management Director.

“We’ve transported 13 patients to the hospitals, both hospitals, in Springfield. Also had numerous walk in wounded. Our emergency action plan went into effect as soon as our emergency responders got on scene.”

He mentioned that roads around the affected areas were shut down last night, except for emergency vehicles.

“It is at State Highway F and South Ash Street is the main affected area, although we do have more areas damaged throughout the county. Basically hit and miss, hit and miss areas.”

He estimates that the storm's path was about four miles wide. He says they have had people volunteer their time already, but asks the public not to try and help out until local officials can create a plan to meet the needs of those who were impacted by the storm.

Also, city officials in Joplin, who know all too well what's required for tornado recovery, are contacting the cities impacted by this week's storms to offer assistance to them.

For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.