Rapidly developing storms meant no tornado siren in Wentzville Monday night

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WENTZVILLE, MO (KTVI)- The National Weather Service confirms that a tornado did the damage in Wentzville. Meteorologist Chris Higgins says they are inspecting the damage, and will have a determination on intensity later. Higgins says the damage appears to be in the EF1 range.

A fast moving line of severe storms moved through our area overnight. The worst damage appears to be in the Wentzville area. Two people suffered minor injuries when the storms hit a mobile home park. The Wentzville Mobile Manor is just off of West Main Street. Two mobile homes overturned in the strong winds just after midnight. There were downed limbs and roof damage to other mobile homes.  The storm also caused a gas leak in the area, prompting police to evacuate some residents.

Some people want to know why they didn’t hear a tornado siren Monday night.

“Tornado warnings are issued by the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service did not have a warning out at the time of this tornado because it developed very rapidly. As we had been alerting all day. These would be quick spin up tornadoes making them very difficult if not impossible to warn for. That was certainly the case last night.

That being said, there were clues on radar that should have been recognized and I believe a warning could have/should have been issued. The NWS is clearly aware it was missed and are reviewing the event to see what went wrong so the forecasters involved can learn from this event and grow as forecasters,” said Meteorologist Chris Higgins.

Higgins posted this update to Facebook Tuesday morning:

“This quick spin up tornadoes can be tough to warn for because they are very short duration and travel only a short distance. This one showed up on/off on the radar going back into Warren county before crossing into St. Charles County. This is the radar signature as the tornado formed at 11:51 PM. I saw power flashes from blowing transformers and power lines 11:52 and had that relayed to the NWS by 11:53. You can see the small scale rotation in the right panel. These are NOT your classic hooks as you see with classic supercellls… like Perryville, MO last week. Thanks to my weather blogger BDGWX for doing the leg work and grabbing the image for me.”

Statement from the City of Wentzville:

“To clarify, the sirens are operated by St. Charles County. The County advised that the National Weather Service noted a very small rotation west of the area late last night, but it quickly dissipated. Rotation was difficult to detect due to the heavy rain. Based on that, the County made the decision not to activate the sirens as no threat appeared to be imminent.

A special thanks to our first responders including Wentzville Missouri Police DepartmentSt. Charles County Ambulance District and the Wentzville Fire Protection District, as well as staff from the Public Works Department for their unified efforts to evacuate and secure areas during last night’s severe weather event.”

Images from Bommarito Automotive SkyFOX helicopter: