No injuries were reported during Monday night’s tornado warning and severe weather in Pettis County, although several homes were damaged in the La Monte and Dresden areas.
Compared with cities in close proximity to Pettis County, such as Oak Grove, which sustained serious damage from a tornado Monday night, Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Clippert said Pettis County “faired pretty well.”
“The tornado warning we had in Pettis County came from the storm that went through Oak Grove,” Clippert said Tuesday morning. “It had weakened enough by the time it got here, but it was radar-indicated. The folks at National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill saw rotation, tight rotation — most storms rotate but when they start to tighten up that’s when they put out a tornado warning.”
Clippert said he didn’t receive reports of large-sized hail, but he is estimating the La Monte area experienced wind gusts of 65 mph or higher.
“There were a bunch of trees down all around in the La Monte and Dresden area,” Clippert said. “I heard people had some tree branches that fell on cars, things like that, but nothing that would say we had a tornado last night. But I can’t completely rule it out. There’s a couple things that look like there could’ve been a tornado, but then I see something else that indicates there wasn’t a tornado.”
Clippert spent Tuesday morning driving around the county surveying damage. He said he has not received any reports of severe damage forcing anyone out of their home, but some homes in Dresden on state Route T near Tyson Foods had “some pretty major roof damage.” A machine shed on Chevalier Lane was blown down, Clippert said, that housed vehicles and other items inside. A garage on Little Muddy Road was blown off its foundation and collapsed, Clippert said.
Clippert said the tornado siren in Smithton did not sound Monday night or during Tuesday morning’s test. SPCEMA has called the company to service the siren, which Clippert said he expects to happen within a few days to a week, depending on the company’s service call load. He said he also received reports the La Monte siren did not sound during Tuesday’s test, but has not received any reports that it didn’t sound Monday night.
Despite Monday night’s heavy rains, Pettis County remains in a Fire Weather Watch until 6 p.m. Wednesday, initially set to expire at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly, so outdoor burning is not advised.
“Even with that rain it didn’t wet it enough — it’s wet on top, not underneath the ground,” Clippert said. “With the wind it will spark some flames and send it out. I don’t know how many fires Pettis County, La Monte, Green Ridge, Hughesville have responded to, but they’ve been pretty busy the last week or two. We’re still in a period where we shouldn’t be outside burning.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.