Tornado damages homes, 4 large steel power poles southeast of Republic, Mo.

Published: Oct. 21, 2019 at 5:13 PM CDT
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The National Weather Service confirms a small tornado hit south of Republic, Mo. early Monday morning.

The EF-0 storm hit minutes before 1 a.m. west of State Highway ZZ. It packed winds of 85 mph. The twister stayed on the ground for about five miles into Greene County.

The storm damaged several homes, uprooted countless trees and damaged four large steel power lines.

Michael and Sara Truman and their two kids saw their house survive the tornado but their 13,000-pound camping trailer that was in their driveway didn't fair as well.

It was picked up and thrown about 40-feet sustaining heavy damaged.

"I was hoping it was only a couple of trees (blown over)," Michael said. "But then I saw this and it took my stomach."

The winds also damaged his pick-up truck moving it from the driveway to a gravel area next to the trailer.

The truck's journey came not by ground, but air.

"That's freshly-laid gravel," Michael said of the gravel area. "That truck's probably five or six thousand pounds and if it just moved it there would be holes dug in the ground. There's not one hole. It just picked it up and threw it right where it sits."

As in all tornadoes, there's often that strange bit of irony. At the Truman's home the winds stripped bark from a tree and blew away an outbuilding but the flimsy wire garden fence next to it is untouched as is the garden hose.

"That's a 13,000-pound trailer (destroyed) but yet I've got a 20-pound hose that's still sitting there coiled-up," Michael explained.

Just down the road Paul Tod saw an enormous tree in his yard pulled up by the roots and fall, barely missing his house and his family of four.

"It definitely was the scariest thing I've experienced out here," Tod said. "My daughter (who's eight years-old) heard a loud bang and felt the walls shake in her bedroom. It fell against the wall that her bed's on."

Tod said he had strategically planned the house to leave it away from the tree line and is thankful that he did.

"I'm glad I didn't go 10-feet that way (towards the trees)," he said. "Or we'd be singing a different song right now."

Not far away in a valley a family cleared trees that covered the empty house where their parents once lived before they passed away. The house had no major damage but a barn with nine horses inside was destroyed. The horses and three dogs all survived.

Several homes on the ridge overlooking the valley were untouched.

Heather Replogle and her family of four live right along the line of steel power poles that were damaged but their house that they moved into just four months ago was spared.

"Considering in the last year we've experienced three other tornadoes, this was the safest place I've felt," she said. "I'd pick a beach any day over this but my heart and soul is in southwest Missouri so I don't see me leaving here."

Typical of that strong Ozarks spirit.

Besides, if you lived on the beach you'd have to worry about hurricanes.