See the historic weather events in Lawrence County, Mo.

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 4:05 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2023 at 5:22 PM CST
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MOUNT VERNON, Mo. (KY3) - Lawrence County is no stranger to significant weather events.

Like most areas in the Ozarks, there’s always a risk for tornadoes, flooding, and snow in the winter months.

In 2003, an EF-3 tornado stretched 25 miles across the county. While this twister missed Mount Vernon, Pierce City, Stockton, and Camdenton faced the brunt of the damage. That particular tornado outbreak cost more than 27 million dollars in damages. This was just one of several tornadoes that hit the Ozarks that fateful day. The storm damaged more than 3,000 homes and businesses. Seven people died. The storm injured numerous others.

Three years later, in 2006, another tornado outbreak hit the Ozarks. Once again, Mount Vernon was spared, but Marionville and Aurora were hit with an EF-3 tornado that tracked less than 10 miles.

Ozarks 2006 tornado outbreak
Ozarks 2006 tornado outbreak(ky3)

One person died, and eight suffered injuries. Damages to the entire area added up to $5 million.

Jumping forward to the late 2010s and early 20s, flooding took the spotlight in terms of weather woes. The topography shows Mount Vernon sits relatively low compared to surrounding areas. The heavy rain events left city leaders looking for a solution. KY3 reported on a 2021 study showing funding was needed to improve the drainage in certain neighborhoods. Joe Kelley with the city of Mount Vernon explained how these changes will be implemented this year.

“Since then, we’ve looked at improvements without redirecting it on the existing storm drain. We have since then this spring started a project over there installing some new culverts and drop-offs in that neighborhood to mitigate that flooding issue in that area,” Kelley said.

While a massive rain event has not affected the area since Kelley is hopeful the changes will make a difference the next time the sky opens up.

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