As cleanup continues, Missouri officials assessing damage from Friday’s tornadoes

Missouri

DEFIANCE, Mo. – Cleanup efforts from Friday’s tornado that ripped through Defiance Friday night continued Sunday morning. 

The house Marcia Vance called home for nearly 20 years is no more. 

“You never in your lifetime think that anything like this could happen to you because you see it on the news all the time,” Vance said.

The devastation can still be seen on a nearly three-mile stretch of Highways F and 94 in St. Charles County.

“We’re taking it a day at a time and just we’re asking for guidance from the lord and we’re going to get through it,” Vance said.

Vance shared her view of the tragic aftermath from the basement she and her husband took shelter in.

“It was just unreal and then we were able to climb our way over the debris and stuff. Climb our way out and to see and the first thing I noticed was that was gone and I was just sure they were gone,” she said.

Property damaged, trees broken in half, cars turned completely upside down. 

An 84-year-old woman was killed in St. Charles County and a child died at a home in Pemiscot County in the state’s Bootheel region.

The destruction prompted immediate action from Missouri Governor Mike Parson, who was on the ground Sunday morning in Defiance. He would also visit Pemiscot County to survey the damage there.

“First of all, me and the first lady, our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families, and all the other members that would have been involved in this situation,” he said.

Severe weather and tornados punished neighboring states as well – Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, and Kentucky. President Joe Biden spoke to the governors on Saturday.  

“He was saying whatever he needed to do, whatever they could do for that level to help all of these states, that they were willing to do, and whatever resources they had don’t be afraid to ask for them,” Parson said. 

The governor’s immediate focus is the people affected.  

“Right now, just trying to figure out what we can do from the state level, to be able to support the locals now and try to figure out how we’re going to build back and get it fixed, and we will,” he said.   

Parson commended the quick efforts and resiliency many have shown.  

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of people out here just helping one another; out being good neighbors and helping from this area,” he said. 

Vance is thankful to be alive and appreciates them too.  

“Oh, my goodness, I’m just overwhelmed. That’s the thing that tears me up the most seeing all the people come out you know and helping out,” Vance said.  

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