BOLLINGER COUNTY, Mo. – At least five people have died after a tornado struck southern Missouri earlier Wednesday morning, according to the Bollinger County Sheriff’s Office.
Several others were hurt in the tornado, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
An intense storm system made way overnight in Bollinger County and other counties a little closer to Cape Girardeau. Tornadoes were warned in the 3 a.m. hour.
FOX 2 has learned of destruction in the Glenallen and Grassy communities near Marble Hill. Initial reports and observations show extensive damage to homes, uprooted trees and crushed cars. A local fire station also suffered damage. Debris is scattered around many homes and roads.
FOX 2’s Chris Higgins has been following the situation closely and shared many photos of the devastation from Glenallen.
The National Weather Service has confirmed the storm system as a tornado based on radar data. FOX 2 is awaiting information on this specific twister’s path and intensity. FOX 2’s forecast tracked some speeds as high as 70 miles per hour around the St. Louis region overnight.
Several first responders and law enforcement agencies have responded to the village of Glenallen for search and rescue assistance. Because of the darkness to start the morning and debris all around the roads, there were some delays to operations this morning.
Fire crews from Kirkwood, Florissant, Union and Herculaneum are among those offering help with search efforts in Bollinger County.
Bollinger County Sheriff Casey A. Graham shared the following statement, in part, via Facebook on the response:
“Immediately after being informed of the damages, your Sheriff’s Office assessed where we could utilize our services most. It was apparent help would be needed from multiple jurisdictions.
“Please understand the scope of this operation. I know everyone wants updates and news of what happened. As your Sheriff, I am focused on ensuring those who still need help are receiving it, and we account for all our citizens.”
Storm threats continued around southern Missouri and much of the St. Louis region through early Wednesday afternoon. High winds, hail and thunderstorms all threatened Missouri, while some part of the state were under a tornado watch for several hours.
This is a developing story. We will update as more information becomes available.