LIBERTY — Crews were busy this morning cleaning up debris from two rounds of storms that swept through Casey County over the weekend.
Judge-Executive Ronald Wright said he had reports of multiple instances of trees down and power outages throughout the county. Wright said workers who spent much of Sunday cleaning up from weather that came through Saturday night were at it again after a pre-dawn storm today.
Wright said the damage appeared consistent with strong straight-line winds and there were no reports of tornadoes or funnel clouds.
Wright said he had not received news of any significant property damage from the storms. He said there were some Taylor County RECC power customers still without electricity this morning.
Elsewhere, a massive tornado that tore through the southwest Missouri city of Joplin killed at least 89 people, but authorities warned that the death toll could climb today as search and rescuers continued their work at sunrise.
City manager Mark Rohr announced the number of known dead at a pre-dawn news conference outside the wreckage of a hospital that took a direct hit from Sunday’s storm. Rohr said the twister cut a path nearly six miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town, adding that tornado sirens gave residents about a 20-minute warning before the tornado touched down on the city’s west side.
Much of the city’s south side was leveled, with churches, schools, businesses and homes reduced to ruins.
Fire chief Mitch Randles estimated that 25 to 30 percent of the city was damaged, and said his own home was among the buildings destroyed as the twister swept through this city of about 50,000 people some 160 miles south of Kansas City.
“It cut the city in half,” Randles said.
An unknown number of people were injured in the storm, and officials said patients were scattered to any nearby hospitals that could take them.