Storm survey: Tornado, microburst hit Cape Girardeau County

Sunday, November 3, 2013
Storm damage at Hackberry and Sprigg streets is seen Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 after Thursday night's thunderstorms in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

Survey teams from the National Weather Service concluded Friday that Cape Girardeau County was hit by an EF-1 tornado and a separate microburst during Thursday night's severe thunderstorm.

The weather service reported the tornado was about 150 yards wide with winds of up to 105 mph. It hit the southern part of the county near Dutchtown about 7:05 p.m. The microburst, with winds up to 95 mph, hit the south side of Cape Girardeau about 9 p.m. A weak EF-0 tornado with peak winds up to 80 mph hit East Cape Girardeau, Ill., about 7:20 p.m.

"It's kind of strange," said Beverly Poole, a meteorologist at the weather service in Paducah, Ky. "There wasn't as much damage in East Cape with the tornado as there was in south Cape Girardeau with the microburst. That was because of the winds."

Weather service survey teams had been dispatched to locations in Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky to look for evidence of tornado activity, Poole said.

"It can sometimes be difficult to discern if a location was hit by a tornado or was subject to high winds," she said. "The teams that have gone out are approaching things objectively."

The heavy rain and strong winds associated with the thunderstorm overturned trees and left snapped tree branches in some Cape Girardeau streets. In addition, more than 2,000 Ameren Missouri customers in Cape Girardeau County lost electrical power Thursday.

As of Saturday afternoon, all power in the region had been restored, according to Ameren Missouri's website.

The weather service reported the tornado that hit near Dutchtown snapped and uprooted trees, shifted a house slightly off its foundation, damaged roofs and leveled a barn.

Mark Hasheider, assistant fire chief with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department, said he had not received reports of storm-related injuries.

"We're glad that's the case," Hasheider said. "The majority of damage were trees that came down and tree limbs that hit power lines. There was also some minor damage to homes, like service lines being pulled away."

According to Hasheider, the hardest-hit part of Cape Girardeau was a 12 square-block area that included William Street to the north, Ranney Avenue to the east, Southern Expressway to the south and West End Boulevard to the west.

"We're continuing the damage assessment there," he said. "There are several power lines in that area and also a lot of branches in the road."

The Public Works Department was busy Friday collecting tree branches from city streets.

"We'll be out picking up debris all day," said Bob Kutak, traffic operations manager of the Public Works Department. "We got called in last night from about 8 until 11 p.m., and we were able to move fallen branches to the sides of the roads. We're busy collecting them today."

Kutak said that Public Works is accepting calls at 339-6351 so residents can schedule tree or brush pickups. The pickups will run through Friday, and trees or brush must be placed next to the curb for crews to pick up the material.

In Jackson, the thunderstorm seemed to have little effect. Jason Mouser, director of the Jackson Emergency Management Agency and chief of the Jackson Fire Department, said there wasn't much damage to assess.

"We dodged a bullet," Mouser said. "We had some wind, but fortunately not a lot of damage. There were some tree limbs down, but I don't think we had any power outages."

Scott County also reported minimal damage.

"We don't really have anything to assess as far as damaged property goes," said Thomas Beardslee, director of the Scott County Emergency Management Agency. "The heaviest action seemed to be in southern Scott County near Sikeston. There were some tree limbs down, but nothing major. We got away pretty clean."

Richard Knaup, director of the Cape Girardeau County Emergency Management Agency, was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon.


Pertinent address:

Paducah, KY

East Cape Girardeau, ILL

Ranney Avenue, Cape Girardeau, MO

William Street, Cape Girardeau, MO

Southern Expressway, Cape Girardeau, MO

West End Boulevard, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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