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Storm damages southwestern Mo., Branson 'strip' clobbered

Storm damages southwestern Mo., Branson 'strip' clobbered

Storm damages southwestern Mo., Branson 'strip' clobbered
Photo Credit: Russell Mills
(Photo) Tornado damage in Branson

Storm damages southwestern Mo., Branson 'strip' clobbered


Major storm damage is being reported this morning in Branson, Missouri, where there also were reports of injuries after a possible tornado struck in the downtown area of the city around 1 a.m. today.

A storm spotter for KY-3 News spoke with emergency management officials.

"There have been several homes either damaged or destroyed in and around Lebanon (Missouri). So far no injuries or deaths have been reported thankfully," the spotter said. 

The National Weather Service got reports of building damage near Lamar, Missouri and Lebanon, Missouri, where a tractor-trailer was reportedly blown off I-44.

The storm cell that caused tornado damage in Lamar missed the Springfield area.

KY-3 News was monitoring police radio traffic early this morning.

"Branson we're going to need medical. I've got a family with an 11-year boy struck in the head by something, not bleeding, he's got a lump, conscious, alert," the officer said. 

People reported theaters had been destroyed and roofs were damaged.

Power lines were down and large, mature trees were laying prone in downtown Branson and other areas, including the strip along Missouri Highway 76. 

A Kansas City man who was staying at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Branson when the storm came through called KRMG after the storm had passed through.

"Next thing I know the entire building is starting to shake. I believe there's 12 floors to the hotel. You could hear windows being blown out and you could see debris out the window," said Corey Hall.

Hall says he encountered a lot of scared people, including a man who sought refuge from the storm in a bathtub.

"He jumped into the bathtub and that's when he broke his leg. I helped him get splinted up and we got him, actually another news reporter who was driving through the area, we flagged his car down and got (the injured man) up to the hospital." 

Hall says he saw some unbelieveable things after the storm moved through.

"The vacuum pressure folded some of those fire doors in half on both sides of the hotel. The storm hit from both sides. It just basically went over the top of the hotel." 

He says half of the Branson Convention Center roof is gone.

Hall told KRMG that it "sounded like just a bomb went off when it hit the hotel. All the lights went out, the power went off to the hotel. Luckily I had a flashlight in my backpack." 

Hall says it was chaotic at first when everyone was trying to get down the stairwell at the 12-story hotel.

The Associated Press reports that one person died and dozens were injured when the storm hit.


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