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Friday, May 6, 2016

Severe storm swings through Monett

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pizza Hut in Monett collapsed after being hit by a weak F-1 tornado or severe straight line winds. At presstime, damage assessments were being taken, and Barry County Emergency Management Director David Compton said he had requested the National Weather Service come down and do a survey to determine the exact nature of the storm that came through Monett this morning. [Times Photo by LIsa Schlichtman]
Tornado sirens sounded at 7 a.m. this morning as an intense storm swept through Monett, leaving a narrow trail of damaged buildings and downed power lines.

Taking the biggest hit was the Monett Pizza Hut on Highway 60. The building collapsed and is a total loss.

According to Barry County Emergency Management Director David Compton, the damage was caused by either rotational winds, straight line winds or a weak tornado.

"Right now we're assessing the damage, and we've requested that the National Weather Service come down and do a survey of the area," said Compton.

"It's a little too premature to say, but I'm leaning toward a weak tornado, especially with the damage to Pizza Hut," said Compton. "The leading edge of a weak F-1 tornado could have spun up and done that damage."

According to Compton, his office and the Monett 911 Dispatch Center were working feverishly on Monday morning, taking damage calls and dispatching emergency workers to various areas throughout town.

Metal ripped from the top of A-1 Rental's storage buildings littered Kyle Street and caused it to be shut down to traffic while city crews cleared the roadway with backhoes.

Police officers were also kept busy directing traffic as area residents drove around town trying to see the damage first hand.

In addition to numerous incidents of building damage, Compton said emergency workers responded to power outages and investigated reports of gas odors at various locations.

"The good news is there were no injuries reported," said Compton.

In rural Monett, Todd Johnson was breathing a big sigh of relief as he assessed the damage caused by this morning's storm at his farm on Farm Road 1130 east of Monett.

In Johnson's opinion, it was a tornado that touched down on his property and destroyed his barn and his shop. The path of destruction travelled just 50 feet from the family's brick home located northeast of the buildings that were destroyed.

"We were very lucky," said Johnson. "We got up about 6:30 (a.m.) and at around 7 (a.m.) I looked out and it was blowing hard. I told my kids to get in the basement and then the wind stopped.

"It happened fast," said Johnson. "I didn't even know there was any damage until my boss called (and told me about the storm) and then I saw one of our big trees down. When I went out to look, I found all this."

Reports of damage were still coming in at presstime, More information about the extent of this morning's storm will be published in tomorrow's edition of The Monett Times.

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