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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tornado touchdown confirmed

Friday, May 14, 2010

Post-tornado clean-up efforts began in earnest yesterday. In the photo above, workers begin the job of clearing off debris from the leveled Pizza Hut restaurant. The National Weather Service confirmed that the building collapse was caused by an F-1 tornado, which swept through Monett at around 7 a.m. on Thursday. Clean-up could be hampered by forecasts of heavy rain throughout today and the weekend. [Times Photo by R.K. Wilson]
The storm that blew through Monett yesterday morning has been classified as an EF1 tornado.

According to Bonnie Witt-Schulte, Monett 911 dispatching supervisor, National Weather Service investigators paid particular attention to the way bleachers were tossed around the soccer fields at South Park and damage to a silo at a rural farm west of Monett in making their determination. The wind patterns reflected rotational wind, which is the difference between a tornado and straight-line winds.

In addition to the major damage to businesses along the northside of Highway 60, Witt-Schulte said there was damage to trees around the Windmill Ridge municipal golf course and there was a report of damage to the roof of New Site Baptist Church, southwest of Monett.

Inside the city limits, Hydro Aluminum reported damage to one of its roofs, and WinTech, northeast of Hydro, had some of its exterior windows damaged by the winds.

Pete Rauch, Monett utilities superintendent, said the city's electric system sustained very little damage from Thursday's storm.

"We had a center phase down near A-1 Rental, but the crews had that up pretty quickly," said Rauch.

A pole on Empire's 69,000-volt line in front of Pizza Hut broke, and in the process of changing that pole, the city's substation on Chapel Drive went down, which caused power outages at Walmart, Lowe's and other commercial and residential customers on the south side of Highway 60.

"As soon as Empire's line was restored to the substation, we were able to pick those customers back up," said Rauch, who estimated all power was restored by 8:45 a.m.

According to the NWS, an EF1 tornado has wind speeds from 86 to 110 miles per hour and usually produces "moderate" damage, including roofs severely stripped, mobile homes overturned, loss of exterior doors and broken windows and glass.

Monett sounded its sirens at 7:11 a.m. on Thursday. At the time, the only warning issued for Barry County was a thunderstorm warning. According to the NWS, the line of storms, which was about 200 feet wide and yielding 100 to 110 mile-per-hour winds, was moving at 50 to 60 miles per hour in a northeasterly direction when it made its way through Monett.

Yesterday's tornado is being followed by heavy rain, which will challenge those trying to clean-up after the storm. A flash food warning had been issued for the Monett area this morning.

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