Branson Officials Promise Fast Recovery from Tornado

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BRANSON, Mo. -- Officials in Branson say that they'll be back, bigger and better than ever.

The optimistic prediction comes just one day after a tornado tore through the southern Missouri tourist spot, damaging a number of attractions along Missouri Highway 76 - the main drag through town.

Officials say that over 100 popular tourist attractions along M-76 were damaged from Wednesday early-morning storm. But they also say that it could have been a lot worse had the twister struck during the peak summer tourist season.

"It was just an act of god that everybody was safe," said Jerry Carroll of Dick Clark's American Bandstand restaurant, which was damaged by the storm.

Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin says that the city suffered by 33 injuries in the storm. Elsewhere across Kansas, Missouri and Illinois, scores more were killed or injured in the early-season storms.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency for the Branson area, meaning more money will be made available to help with rebuilding and recovery - a recovery that is vital to the city of 10,000 that depends on the over 8 million tourists who visit every year.

"We're just going to clean up, and the show will go on," said Branson resident Robb Horton.

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