Workers at the 911 Joint Communications Center were on high alert Sunday afternoon as they braced for severe weather to hit central Missouri, but the worst of the storms bypassed Boone County.
The National Weather Service forecasted severe thunderstorms with the possibility of hail the size of baseballs and tornadoes across Missouri and Illinois through Sunday evening.
“We are constantly monitoring the weather,” on-duty weather watch coordinator Suzanne Fred of the 911 center said. “Usually when we see severe weather developing around the Sedalia area we start preparing and notify personnel to be available to come in.”
Fred said only two additional people were called in because of the weather threat. Others were on stand-by, she said, but it was not necessary to call them. .
At 3 p.m. Sunday, there were numerous severe thunderstorm warnings posted north, east and south of Columbia, from Springfield through Lake of the Ozarks and into northern Missouri.
Most of the preliminary reports from those storms were limited to hail.
Downtown Columbia was struck by hail at 3:44 p.m., but it was short-lived.
There were reports of hail throughout Boone County, Fred said, but “99 percent” were for pea-sized hail. There were a few reports of small hail and one citizen even reported larger hail, “possibly baseball size” in the area around Nifong Boulevard in south Columbia, Fred said.
By late afternoon, the 911 center had no reports of damage or injuries in Boone County.
There was, however, one road closing. A tree blocked one lane of Missouri 163, by Pierpont, just south of Columbia near Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. A telephone line was also affected, but there was no outage.
Several tornado warnings were issued as the storms approached the Missouri-Illinois border, and far eastern Missouri remained under a tornado watch until 10 p.m. Sunday.
By 6 p.m., the Weather Service reported tornado damage to buildings one mile north of Clarence Cannon Dam in Monroe County.