EF-2 tornado in north-central Missouri hits propane supplier business; on ground for 30 miles


LINN COUNTY, Mo. – An EF-2 tornado was on the ground for more than 30 miles Sunday in north-central Missouri that hit a propane supplier and left some without a home.

Linn County Emergency Management Director Shelby Creed said the tornado was on the ground as it traveled across the entire county for 31 miles.

“I really wasn’t sure how bad it was until we got out there today and did some preliminary damage assessments and actually got to see how bad it was,” Creed said Monday.

The tornado touched down around 4:30 p.m. after residents in Linn County were on high alert for severe weather.

“We then paged out the effective fire departments to activate the storm spotters, then set off the sirens for the effective towns in Linn County,” Creed said.

The National Weather Service spent Monday surveying the damage before confirming it was an EF-2 tornado that hit Purdin, the north-central part of the county. A propane business known as MO Energy Propane was hit, throwing the office building off its foundation. The 120-mile per hour winds tossed empty propane tanks around. On Monday, the property was covered in shingles, wood pieces, parts of the steel structure, and office supplies.

Along Missouri Route 5 across from the propane business, the tree line was covered in debris like shed siding, installation, and other objects. A home on Expo Lane, about a mile southwest of the propane business, was ripped apart; the entire roof, garage, and shed were gone. Family members of the homeowners said the couple was down in the basement when the tornado hit.

“There was quite a bit of damage,” Creed said. “I’m really surprised we did not get more calls. There’s quite a bit of damage to houses, some trees, outside buildings, and power lines.”

The tornado traveled for more than 30 miles before stopping at the county line. Creed said the county is still assessing all the damage.

“It’s a pretty rural area where the storm went through so in the rural areas, everybody kind of takes care of themselves and their neighbors so they really did not call 911 or the admin line,” Creed said.

By Monday afternoon, friends, family, and neighbors came together to pick up the pieces.

“Make sure you have a plan, you have a bag or a tote ready in case you do need to seek shelter and know where you can seek shelter,” Creed said.

Once complete, the county hopes to pass the damage assessment off to the State’s Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to see if state aid is needed.

Owners of the propane business did not want to go on camera but said luckily the tanks on the property were empty.

Fortunately, no was in Linn County was hurt from Sunday’s storms. Creed said the American Red Cross is in the county assessing damage but those who lost their home or have damage are staying with family and friends.

“There are community members that are very helping to their neighbors in Linn County,” Creed said. “It makes it a lot easier.”

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