Severe storms race across Ozarks overnight

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- First reports out of Buffalo this morning indicate one person has died and  at least 12 others were injured after a tornadic storm ripped through a mobile home park in the Dallas County town.

Buffalo is one of many areas reporting storm damage this morning after a series of severe storms moved through the area late Tuesday into Wednesday.

KY3 News sent crews out during the night to try to get more information about the storm damage.  One crew went to Lebanon; another headed towards Buffalo, where serious injuries are reported along with property damage.  Others will go to more areas as the damage become known, including Branson, where major damage occurred and people are injured.

The National Weather Service first got reports of structural damage just north of Lamar in Barton County, probably from a tornado.   Later, the same storm cell damaged southern Dallas County near Long Lane.   Damage is also reported in Lebanon, where debris was reported to be falling from the sky at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, and at least one tractor-trailer was reported to be blown off Interstate 44 near Lebanon.

At 1:25 a.m., a tornado moved through Branson. People reported theaters destroyed, roofs damaged, power lines down and large mature trees toppled in downtown Branson and other areas, and other damage, including the strip along Missouri 76.  One person reported damage and people trapped on Mount Branson, east of downtown Branson across Lake Taneycomo, and in Hollister.

Before that storm got to Branson, it did damage in the Kimberling City area.  Fourteen houses are reported to be damaged in the Joe Bald area.  Power lines were down.  Boat docks are floating free in Table Rock Lake.  Southern Stone County firefighters were trying to reach damaged areas.

At 1:35, the tornado was reported to be heading toward Powersite Dam east of Forsyth, and damage was reported in that area as the storm headed into Ozark County.

Shortly before 1 a.m., reports started coming into Greene County Emergency Management and law enforcement officials that the storm damaged a trailer park near Fair Grove and injured some people.

Also shortly before 1 a.m., Laclede County Emergency Management received reports of a trailer park being damaged near Bennett Spring State Park on the Dallas-Laclede county line.  Dallas County Emergency Management had reports of damage south of Buffalo but was having trouble getting emergency responders there because of downed power lines.

The damage near Lamar occurred around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday as a line of thunderstorms moved out of Kansas and Oklahoma into southwest Missouri.  The storm system was accompanied by hail, along with the high winds.

About 30 minutes later, some damage was reported in the Aldrich area near Stockton Lake as the storm continued to move eastward at about 70 mph. Ham radio operators reported power outages in the Morrisville area.  Damage is also reported at the airport in Stockton.

The main portion of the storm with the most dangerous rotations and high winds passed just south of Bolivar about 11:50, in the Slagle area.  The storm moved into Dallas County at midnight, going through Foose, Windyville and Long Lane, south of Buffalo. 

At 12:08 a.m., the National Weather Service's radar indicated the possibility of a tornado south of Buffalo.  Spotters confirmed a tornado along Missouri 32 moving towards Bennett Spring State Park.  The NWS got a report of a home in the Long Lane area being damaged or destroyed.  Power also was reported to be out in Buffalo.

The City of Lebanon activated its storm sirens as the storm headed its way.  A wall cloud was reported heading toward Lebanon at 12:20 a.m.  A tornado was reported to be on the ground in southern Lebanon at 12:25 and numerous reports came into the NWS and KY3 of damage in Lebanon.

Power was reported to be out about 12:50 a.m. along Highway A in the Doe Run area of Laclede County and around Tracker Marine in Lebanon.  The NWS canceled the tornado warning for Laclede County at 12:48 a.m.  The Tornado Warning continued, however, for the Fort Leonard Wood and Rolla areas, and issued one for northern Dent County and southern Phelps County at 1:06 a.m.   A viewer reported a Conoco gas station damaged (photo above) in Edgar Springs, south of Rolla, and a tree down on a home in Rolla.

The entire KY3 area in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas was under a Tornado Watch until 5 a.m. Wednesday as a cold front moved across the plains. 

The storm cell that caused tornado damage in Lamar and Morrisville missed the Springfield area but the line of storms raced eastward and arrived in  Springfield about 12:25 a.m. with high winds, which lasted about 20 minutes.  One person said shingles were blown off a child care center near the corner of Republic Road at Fremont Avenue in Springfield.

At 12:20 a.m., a violent storm moved into McDonald County around Pineville and Bella Vista, Ark.  That storm then moved through Cassville and Galena into the Clever and Billings areas of western Christian County, and then into the Ozark and Seymour areas.  About 1:10 a.m., power was reported to be out in Crane.

A tornado on the ground was reported west of Branson at 1:15 a.m. in the Kimberling City, Indian Point and Silver Dollar City area.  The system headed toward Branson, Hollister, Merriam Woods and Forsyth. 

Power outages were reported in Branson at 1:20 a.m. and a tornado was reported shortly after that to be moving through the city, causing damage to roofs, power lines and trees.  One person reported major damage to theaters and motels.  Cinder blocks were on roads, and emergency responders were treating injured people.

Power is out to 8,000 White River Valley Electric Cooperative customers spanning several counties, and 2,600 Southwest Electric Cooperative customers are without power as well.

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