Two Tornadoes Hit The Lake Of The Ozarks Area During Memorial Weekend Storms

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It’s official: two EF-1 tornadoes touched down at the Lake during the powerful storms last weekend.

The National Weather Service in Springfield, Mo. confirmed five tornadoes touched down in Missouri on Saturday, May 27: two were on the ground in Morgan County around 2:30 p.m. and three touched down in Phillipsburg, Dry Knob and Ft. Leonard Wood, in Laclede County.

An EF-1 tornado, with estimated 90 mph winds, cut a 50-yard path of destruction at the Lake of the Ozarks on Lake Road 5-33 in Sunrise Beach. The second EF-1 tornado ripped a 300-yard path just north east of Sunrise Beach, also in Morgan County.

The EF-1 tornadoes and high winds damaged vehicles and signs and more than 50 homes during the violent storm event. On the Lake’s west side, the fierce winds and tornadoes also snapped power lines and utility poles in rural Gravois Mills, Laurie, Sunrise Beach and up to Versailles (mainly south of Highway 52). There was one reported injury due to the storm.

Whether it was a tornado or straight-line winds—the National Weather Service will likely investigate—Saturday evening’s storms ripped trees out of the ground and downed power lines at Lake of the Ozarks.

The hardest-hit area, according to Camden County Emergency Management Director Ron Gentry, seemed to be around Lake Road 5-35. That area on the West side of the Lake, as well as parts of Horseshoe Bend, look to have borne the brunt of the storm.

The powerful winds pushed across the Lake’s main channel and wreaked havoc along areas of Horseshoe Bend, with homeowners posting photos of downed trees and damage on social media.

A house on Route O, next to the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Laurie, was one of the homes that sustained damaged. High winds toppled two electric poles, causing one to crash into the roof, resulting in major damage to one bedroom and a kitchen. John Lindsey assisted with clearing of trees on the property. “We also cleared 15 trees out of the road on Lake Road 135-12 and one on Ivy Bend Road, south of Stover, earlier today,” Lindsey reported.

According to Co Mo Electric Cooperative, the storm left as many as 7,000 members’ homes without power. An army of EMS first responders, utility and tree service workers worked through the day and night and into Monday to restore power.

Couple survives a tree falling on their house

Daniel “Dick” Sanders and his wife Silvia were in their Lake home on Lake Road 5-35 in Sunrise Beach, when the tornado warnings were issued. “We were watching the television to see where the storm was headed,” Dick said. “All of a sudden the lights went out and we heard this wild wind noise and we decided it was time to take cover.”

The couple ran to a pantry. “It is the smallest room in the house,” Dick said.

As they hunkered down they heard loud wind, debris hitting the house and finally the sound of massive fully mature trees snapping around their property, and then one loud crash of a tree falling on their home.

The NWS confirmed an EF-1 tornado on Lake Road 5-33, but Dick believes that same tornado went through their property on Lake Road 5-35. “The trees were knocked down in two different directions,” Dick said. “That was a tornado.”

“We thank the good Lord we were spared,” Dick said.

After the storm subsided, the elderly couple went outside to survey the damage. Six trees in their yard had been either ripped out of the ground or broken in two, with one landing on the back side of their home. “It looks like the damage is not that bad,” Dick said, optimistically.

An RV parked next to the house went undamaged, so they pulled out a camp stove to make coffee before heading to church on Sunday morning.

by Janet Dabbs
May 30, 2017

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Kyrie Wagner