ORRICK, Mo. — Investigators with the National Weather Service say that a tornado that roared through the Sibley and Orrick areas on Saturday night was EF2 in strength.
The NWS sent crews out across the region on Sunday to survey damage from Saturday night’s storms. Investigators determine the strength of tornadoes based on the extent of the damage they leave behind.
The storm that rolled through Ray County and parts of eastern Clay County area shortly after 11:00 P.M. on Sunday was rated as an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with winds ranging from 111-135 MPH.
The new concerns the day after the storms is flooding, as the region saw up to six inches of rain. Kurt Branham of Orrick said the flooding is like getting kicked when you’re down. He said his friend Brian lost his home when the tornado touched down.
“I got an alert on my phone and I went outside and saw it,” said Branham. “Just a black cloud going through. The way it looks, it was a tornado.”
That storm damaged several homes and structures in the Orrick and Sibley areas, but there were no reports of injuries. Branham says he spent his Sunday helping his friend recover belongings, family pictures, and Indian keepsakes he’s collected his entire life.
“I’ve been over there helping him pick up stuff,” said Branham, adding that the aftermath is extremely hard to take in. “Bad. It’s really bad. Trailer’s totally gone. The frame of the trailer is stuck in the tree up in the air. It’s unbelievable what it’s done.”
Nathan Claypole of Orrick is one of the firefighters who responded to the emergency calls just before midnight. He described what he and other first responders saw when they arrived.
“A trailer home that had actually been wrapped around a tree and just debris scattered everywhere,” said Claypole. “Metal poles that were bent with rods going through them and actually penetrating through them.”
Claypole says that he came back on Sunday to check on everything.
“I’d found some pictures and stuff laying out so I tried to get them up before the rain damaged too much,” said Claypole.
The rain damage and imminent flooding worried both Claypole and Branham.
“It’s getting worse,” said Branham. “We had a lot of rain up north of us.”
Branham says that the rising water will surely wash away whatever was left of his friend’s home.
“Kicked when you’re down, yup, that’s what we said when I left,” said Branham. “There’s nothing you can do about it.
Further north of the metro area, an EF1 tornado damaged structures in the town of Polo, in Caldwell County. An EF-1 tornado packs winds from 86-110 MPH.
There were also two other confirmed tornado tracks from Saturday night’s storms—one near Lawson and another near Clinton.
Both of those storms were rated as EF-0, with winds ranging from 65-85 MPH.
Officials are still working to confirm a possible fifth tornado near Adrian, Missouri, on Saturday night as well.