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Tornado rips through western Missouri town

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Orrick, MO -- An apparent tornado touched down Saturday afternoon in a small town east of Kansas City, Missouri, blowing roofs off houses and toppling trees and power poles, the National Weather Service said.

There was no immediate word on injuries in the town of Orrick, but law enforcement officials are checking house-to-house to make sure everyone is accounted for, said Sgt. Collin Stosberg with the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The damage appeared to be typical for a tornado, but a determination on whether it was indeed a twister and the scale would have to wait another day, said Rich Thompson, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Residents reported seeing a funnel cloud, Thompson told CNN.

Debris was scattered throughout the town. A silo crashed to the ground and trees were either ripped out of the ground or torn in half. Residents looked stunned as they surveyed the damage.

Amy and Jerry McNary discovered their two Australian shepherd puppies, amazingly, were alive in their open-air enclosure, though a bit muddy. The McNarys' chicken coop next to the dogs was turned upside down, but all 15 chickens were unhurt.

Their yard was full of storm debris.

"It's bad. It's a mess," Jerry McNary told CNN Kansas CIty affiliate KSHB. "The rest of the town doesn't look any better.

His wife said the town of about 900 will recover. Orrick is about 30 miles east of Kansas City.

"Orrick's a good community," Amy McNary told KSHB. "I'm sure everyone will help out. We have a strong community here."

Stosberg said 80% of the town was affected. Authorities said they won't allow nonresidents for 48 hours.

Because power lines were downed, Kansas City Power & Light deliberately shut off electricity to the area until the damage can be assessed.

By Melissa Gray and Ralph Ellis

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