Two dead after severe weather hits Missouri

Two residents near Paris, Mo., died when winds pummeled their mobile home
Thursday, October 18, 2007 | 10:12 a.m. CDT; updated 4:25 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Slightly more than half an inch of rain fell in Columbia during Wednesday night’s storms, according to the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

There is a slight chance for showers, thunderstorms and strong winds this afternoon.

The Boone Electric Cooperative received reports of roughly 800 people without power, communications specialist Christi Miller said. “It wasn’t a huge outage, but it was significant for those people,” Miller said.

Miller said a breaker went out in the Hallsville and Ashland areas with other service disruptions throughout the service area.

In Columbia, 122 people were without power between midnight and 6 a.m., Columbia Water and Light spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz said. The area north of the intersection of Forum Road and Stadium Boulevard was most affected. Kacprowicz said service lines to homes were damaged by fallen tree limbs in the area.

The Columbia Fire Department estimated that three out of 32 calls Wednesday night were weather-related, mostly reports of transformer fires and one “lines down” call. No injuries were reported.

Benjamin Sipprell of the National Weather Service said a tornado struck Paris, 55 miles northeast of Columbia. Sipprell said he had no further details, but a survey team was going to Paris to assess the damage today, Sipprell said.

“We’re not even sure the information we’re getting is reliable,” he said.

The Associated Press reported that Kent Ensor, 44, and Kristy Secrease, 25, died when winds pummeled the home near Paris, Mo., a town of about 1,500 residents. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the bodies were found 400 feet from where the mobile home was sitting.

High winds in the area downed trees, power lines and utility poles. Authorities say some of the falling trees left minor damage to homes in Callaway, Audrain and Monroe counties.

“We had damage scattered around central and eastern Missouri and into southwestern Illinois,” said Scott Truett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

In the St. Louis area, nearly 10,000 AmerenUE customers were without power Thursday morning from wind, lightning strikes and downed trees.

The southern Illinois town Murphysboro had to shut down schools because classrooms lacked power.

Truett said that in the Midwest, high winds are mixing with warm, spring-like weather on the ground.

“That’s a real good setup for severe weather,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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