CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. -- Pemiscot County Clerk Larry Ray said Tuesday's scheduled elections in Caruthersville will be postponed until May 2 after the city was devastated by a tornado over the weekend.
Caruthersville is the first town in Missouri ever to make such a move, said Stacie Temple, a spokeswoman for Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. Temple said the postponement is justified under the circumstances.
Ray said public buildings have been destroyed, 21 election judges had their homes destroyed and it would be impossible to print ballots.
"I'd rather not have an election than have it botched," Ray said.
The National Weather Service sent survey crews to the area on Monday and determined that Caruthersville was struck by at least an F-3 tornado on the Fujita scale, with winds of 158 to 206 mph, according to meteorologist Jody Aaron with the NWS in Memphis, Tenn.
Most of the town's southern end was flattened. Trees, some 150 to 200 years old, were uprooted. Mobile homes were tossed several hundred feet and century-old brick homes were in crumbled heaps.