National Weather Service Confirms EF2 Tornado - County Still Picking Up The Pieces, Rural Areas Powerless

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

“A lot of people are still working on damage assessments,” said Ripley County Emergency Management Director Lance Pigg, on Sunday morning, as many residents of Ripley County awoke to devastation caused by dangerously high winds. The National Weather Service has since determined damages to be the result of one or more tornados that touched down at several different locations. At approximately 1:21 a.m., the National Weather Service (NWS) of Paducah, Ky., issued an emergency alert for a tornado warning for Ripley County until 1:45 a.m. Warnings were again issued at 6:02 and 6:33 a.m. According to Lance, the storm at 6:02 a.m., was a “rain-wrapped” tornado. There were no fatalities. There were reports of injuries due to flying debris, however, but nothing life-threatening. Fallen trees were reported on homes south of Gatewood and Doniphan, with the worst damages from the Southwest corner of Ripley County to Fairdealing. A home on south Ripley-Butler County line road was said to have lost most of its roof. It was reported that as the storm swept through the property, the family of six went into the bathroom and sat in a bathtub, praying. The storm receded, and they went outside to find that only the section of roof over the bathroom remained intact. Assessments are in process by all local departments including Emergency Management Services for Ripley County and Doniphan, the Ripley County Sheriff’s Department, Doniphan Police, Missouri State Highway Patrol and volunteer fire departments. Power outages have been widespread, with Ozark Border Electric Cooperative reporting more than 90 percent of Ripley County without service after the storm. Power was restored at approximately 12 noon to the city of Doniphan, and long lines at gas stations and the grocery store were witnessed by 1 p.m. Ozark Border reported that all its power supplier substations were back online Monday. Crewmen had discovered 94 broken poles and, at that point, had restored power to 22,000 services, working more than 36 hours, and leaving 5,400 accounts still without power at that time. As of 3 p.m., Monday, Ozark Border reported it had only two substations remaining offline with 87 broken poles and 7,100 services still off. Multiple crews from other cooperatives were continuing to arrive and were working to help restore services. Ozark Border posted on its website, “Our crews are working diligently throughout our entire system to make repairs and get the lights back on. Thank you for your patience. This has been Ozark Border’s biggest disaster since the ice storm of 2009.”