Branson West, Mo. neighborhood recovering from a tornado

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 3:53 PM CST
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BRANSON WEST, Mo. (KY3) - The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado hit an area in Stone County during Friday night’s storms.

The twister touched not far from State Highway 13, near Ance Creek Road. The category EF1 tornado damaged an area near the Branson West community around 7:40 p.m. Friday.

The storm packed winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. It stayed on the ground for 0.67 miles. It lasted less than five minutes. There has been no reported deaths or significant injuries.

”I didn’t know if my house was still going be there because it was so loud and I didn’t know what was happening,” said Sharon Johnston, who owns one of four homes significantly damaged. “I thought well am I gonna get blown away from where I’m at in the bathroom.“

”I was in the kitchen, heard something hit the window, I went to check it,” said Bob McCoy, who had damage to both of his vehicles. “All of a sudden (I) heard a loud boom and the power went off. I wasn’t sure how serious it was until I went outside and saw all of the damage.”

In just three minutes it did damage to roughly 20 homes, as well as trees, power lines, and car windows.

“After it quieted down I came out and that’s when I found all of the damage,” said Johnston. “The side of my house was gone, and several broken windows, so there was glass all over the ground from the broken windows. I was worried about my dogs, I didn’t want them to get hurt stepping on anything”

It is believed the be the most significant in the area since the Leap Day Tornado on February 29, 2012. That was an EF2, which led to significant structural damage along West 76 Country Boulevard.

”For this particular area, yes, we’ve been very fortunate here to not have any problems with any tornadoes,” said Cheif Steve Dalton with Branson West Police Department. “This is the biggest one that’s hit here since I’ve been here, and that’s almost nine years.”

Several residents are waiting for the next step as several insurance companies and damage assessments are backed up with the broadness of the recent storm.

”It’s sad because a lot of us are on fixed incomes and we don’t have a lot of money to do fixing up of the places,” said Johnston. “So hopefully we’ll get help from our landlords but we don’t know.”

With uncertainty, many say they are thankful it wasn’t any worse.

”Well I’ve always said nobody really got hurt or killed and that’s really a Lord’s blessing on that,” said McCoy.

”We were so glad nobody got hurt because that was the first thing we did was go house to house,” said Johnston. “Then the fire department and rescuers, they were here, it was really comforting to have them here and know they were concerned about all of us.”

There is currently no estimation of the total damage done.

Tornado warnings were issued for several counties in the Missouri Ozarks region throughout the evening.

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