Volunteers help secure property in southwest Missouri before next wave of storms

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. -- United States Sen. Josh Hawley saw for himself the damages in Carl Junction on Friday.

Meanwhile, an army of volunteers helped victims try to secure their properties before the next round of severe storms strike.

Damage in Carl Junction, Missouri after a tornado touched down late Wednesday, May 22, 02019.

The senator saw and heard that this storm-ravaged community is going to need federal disaster aid to help folks rebuild their lives.

"I can't believe FEMA is not here," Hawley said. "Look these people have been in a disaster. They deserve the help."

A steady stream of volunteers has been signing up at the command center to help cut up trees that fell on the roofs of homes or are blocking homeowners' driveways.

Officials say 19 houses in the city have been declared a total loss. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.

Missouri U.S. Rep. Billy Long, who represents the area, toured the damage Friday morning, and said people are working hard to salvage what they can before more heavy rain or strong winds make things worse.

"People are very grateful to see us down here," said Long, a Republican from Springfield. "I know the governor came yesterday and he wasn’t able to get into some of the areas we were able to get into today because we went in on golf carts. I had this one couple they came out and they literally had tears in their eyes because they were so thankful to see me and know we’re reaching out from Washington, D.C.., and help them with FEMA and tell them where they can get help."

Long said ever since the devastating tornado that killed 161 people in Joplin, Missouri eight years ago, people here in tornado alley take the warnings much more seriously.

He said the people he's talked with all headed to their basements when the tornado rolled through, and he believes that's why there was no loss of life in Carl Junction.

Long said he wants to introduce a resolution to eliminate May 22 from the calendar. He said his oldest daughter was born during a tornado on May 22. Then came the Joplin tornado. And now this.

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