ELDON, Mo. — At one point, the entire town of Eldon, less than 5,000 people, was in the dark after a possible tornado struck late Wednesday night.
Utility crews have been working around the clock to restore power, but as of Thursday night, one-third of the town still doesn’t have electricity — and the clean-up is just beginning.
“It just blows my mind,” one woman said. “We had no idea the devastation.”
The National Weather Service hasn’t been to Eldon yet to survey the damage and officially determine if a tornado struck the small Missouri town.
But on the northeast side of Eldon, car after car stopped or slowed down Thursday to see the damage of the severe storm that hit before making its way to Jefferson City as an EF-3 tornado.
“It’s really just kind of hit and miss,” Krissy Flora said.
She and her husband were getting ready for bed when sirens started going off.
“We came out here. Everything was black, and all of a sudden, we heard it,” Flora said. “And my husband looked at me and said, ‘Get the kids.'”
The couple grabbed their newborn and 6-year-old daughter and ran for the basement.
“Everybody says it sounds like a freight train. It sounds so much worse,” she said. “It sounds like four or five of them colliding at the same time.”
Her family bunkered down in the basement for about a minute or so before the storm passed.
“I was terrified, but I was trying to stay strong so my daughter didn’t freak-out,” Flora said.
In the morning, daylight painted a picture of the destruction.
Roofs were ripped from their homes. Power lines were mangled about. Broken trees and debris now litter along streets and yards.
“We’re just trying to buckle everything down,” Flora said.
She said her family fared well compared to some of her neighbors. Now she simply wants her grandma, who lives more than 150 miles away in Kansas City, to know they’re OK.
“She did call and leave a voicemail earlier, and I haven`t been able to get a hold of her because cell service has been in and out all day,” the Eldon mom said. “But I know she`s worried.”
There were some reports of injuries in Eldon but thankfully no fatalities.