PERRY COUNTY, MO (KTVI) – Around 8 pm Tuesday night a tornado hit the northern part of Perry County Missouri. Fox 2 Meteorologist Chris Higgins was at the scene when the tornado struck.
The tornado caused significant damage in an area near Highway 51 & 61, I-55 around mile marker 133 and State Road N & Highway T. Several vehicles were blown off roadways in the area. Some vehicle thrown onto the interstate were cars from a salvage yard and had already been crushed.
First responders from Perry and Jefferson County have responded to the scene. Authorities confirmed 1 person was killed during the storm. A number of injuries occurred when the tornado threw vehicles off the interstate.
When Chris Higgins arrived on the scene, he found injured people walking out of ditches and a wooded area. He immediately grabbed a medical kit from the St. Charles Nissan Storm Runner, and started helping the injured.
The area affected on I-55 is nearly a quarter-mile long and wide. Because of the debris, the interstate will remain closed once the road is cleared of vehicles.
Further north on I-55 semi-tractor trailers were picked up and thrown from the interstate by the twister. While homes and businesses in the area around Highway 51 and 61 suffered severe damage or were destroyed.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol has set-up a command post at I-55 and Highway M.
Because of the damage in county, school officials from the Perry County School District 32 have cancelled classes for Wednesday.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety sent 3 strike teams consisting of state and regional fire, search, rescue and EMS personnel to Perry County. The teams will aid in assisting the Missouri State Highway Patrol and local authorities to search damage vehicles, homes and help in traffic control.
Residents affected by the tornado are being assisted by the American Red Cross. A shelter has been set-up in Perryville at Perry Park Center at 800 City Park Lane.
Governor Greitens Statement on Perryville Tornado
Tough and tragic news tonight out of Perryville where there are confirmed reports of a tornado touching down. Our thoughts and prayers are with the community and those affected. State Emergency Management was monitoring severe weather in the region and was prepared to respond to any situation. We have already deployed strike teams and resources, and this community should know that the full weight and support of the state of Missouri is behind you.
I would urge continued caution throughout the night. There is a tornado watch in effect until 4 AM for the following counties: Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Ripley, Scott, Stoddard, and Wayne. If you or a loved one live in these counties, please be alert, vigilant, and safe tonight.
We will continue to work with public safety officials throughout the night, and we will update everyone as additional information comes in. Please keep the people affected by this storm in your prayers tonight.