May 21, 2013
At least one and potentially two weak tornadoes were on the ground briefly Monday evening in Pettis County — part of a multi-state storm system that also spurred a deadly tornado in Moore, Okla.
The storm system hit almost two years to the day that an EF-2 tornado did significant damage to portions of south Sedalia, on May 25, 2011.
Pettis County Emergency Management Director Dave Clippert said Pettis County began the day with a slight risk for severe weather, though by noon the area was placed under a tornado watch by the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.
“We were watching the storms coming up and watching a long line that stretched from Harrisonville to just across the Texas-Oklahoma border. That system had a lot of power built into it,” Clippert said.
Public safety officials in Johnson County spotted rotation in the storm as it neared Centerview on Monday afternoon, and the storm continued to gain power as it moved towards Knob Noster and the Pettis-Johnson county line. Pettis was placed under a tornado warning at about 5:10 p.m.
“It was a pretty big area right across entire county. Green Ridge was about the only place not in it,” Clippert said.
Preliminary reports said about 20 homes in Johnson County sustained damage, while three homes in Pettis County along northeast of La Monte also sustained damage.
“One of the homes in Pettis County reportedly had significant damage. A lot of out buildings and sheds were also damaged and we had a few power lines down and a lot of standing water,” Clippert said.
NWS representatives were on the ground Monday evening to assess damage and the strength of the storm. Clippert said based on reports of damage there “may have been two small tornadoes on the ground briefly between La Monte and Hughesville near Buckley Road.”
“Based on where the damage was it looks like they both touched down briefly, then popped back up again,” he said. “The biggest thing we are looking at now is some impassable roads in the county and some city streets with backed up water.”
Clippert told the Democrat on Monday night there was no indication of a repeat of the severe weather today.
“I don’t think we are looking at anything tomorrow, certainly nothing major,” he said. “I was really quite surprised we had a tornado with this. Oklahoma was part of this system and they clearly had a much worse situation on the ground there.”