Tornado touches down northeast of Essex

Wednesday, January 9, 2008
The home of Bobby and Jackie Griffin was hit by the storm, though much of the damage seemed to be cause by torrential rains. (Noreen Hyslop ~ Dexter Daily Statesman)

ESSEX, Mo. -- A tornado, confirmed by the National Weather Service, cut a narrow path through an area near the Stoddard County community of Essex at around 1 p.m. Tuesday, leaving at least one rural home in ruins and several power lines snapped.

The home of Bobby and Jackie Griffin, on County Road 554 about 2.5 miles northeast of U.S. 60 and Route FF, sustained severe damage from the storm.

Debris from the home's roof could be seen scattered in a field just east of the home, and reports from the county's emergency management system late Tuesday indicated the home is likely a total loss. Two vehicles parked in the driveway of the residence were also damaged.

Much of the damage to the home was caused by the torrential rains that fell after the storm's impact. It was reported that both Bobby and Jackie Griffin were at home when the storm hit but were not hurt.

Members of the Essex Fire Department, neighbors and friends of the Griffins were on hand shortly after the storm passed to aid the family in removing what items could be salvaged from the home.

Several utility poles were also snapped as a result of the winds that accompanied the storm along Highway 114 just east of the Dexter, Mo., city limits and along Route N north of the Essex area, according to John Prance, Stoddard County emergency management director.

"Members of the highway patrol and Stoddard County sheriff's office were on hand to direct traffic in areas where roads were closed for several hours," Prance said.

Debris from the storm was scattered in a nearby field. The strength of the storm also snapped several utility poles. (Bobby Greer ~ Dexter Daily Statesman)

An outbuilding at a residence north of U.S. 60 on Route N was blown from its foundation, Prance reported, and a liquid propane tank valve was severed, allowing the gas to spew in to the air.

No injuries were reported as a result of the storm, but power outages occurred when poles were snapped near the area of Cline's Island and area just east of Dexter's city limits.

"We had several witnesses to this situation yesterday who claimed to have seen a funnel cloud on the ground just before 1 p.m.," Prance said.

Those reports were confirmed by the National Weather Service late Tuesday.

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