The hospital discharged patients who could go home or moved them to other medical facilities. But they also had to confront an influx of injured.
“Helicopters have been coming in and out here all morning,” said the hospital’s CEO, Vince Ashley.
Osman and his sister sorted through twisted debris and chunks of pink insulation at the site of their mother’s duplex, looking for photos and financial records.
They found 10 old picture slides that were among a collection of hundreds. Some were caked in mud and damaged by water.
“My mother was a Christian,” Osman said. “I know she’s in a better place. That is the only thing getting me through this.”
In Missouri, one person was killed in a trailer park in the town of Buffalo, about 35 miles north of Springfield. Two more fatalities were reported in the Cassville and Puxico areas.
The tornado that barreled through the tiny eastern Kansas town of Harveyville was an EF-2, with wind speeds of 120 to 130 mph, state officials said. It left much of the community in rubble.
The twisters were spawned by a powerful storm system that blew down from the Rockies on Tuesday and was headed toward the East Coast.
Corey Mead, lead forecaster at the U.S. Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said a broad cold front was slamming into warm, humid air over much of the eastern half of the nation.
At least 16 tornado sightings were reported from Nebraska and Kansas across southern Missouri to Illinois and Kentucky, according to the storm center, an arm of the National Weather Service.
Near downtown Branson, a strip mall lay in tatters, its roof missing and several walls gone. About 170 boats and several docks were destroyed on Table Rock Lake.
Branson has long been a tourist destination for visitors attracted to the beauty of the surrounding Ozarks. But the city rose to prominence in the 1990s because of its theaters, which drew country music stars including Merle Haggard and Crystal Gale as well as other musical celebrities such as Chubby Checker and Andy Williams.
It is about 110 miles southeast of Joplin, which was devastated by a monstrous twister last May that killed 161 people. Memories of the disaster fueled residents and guests to quickly take cover after the sirens sounded early Wednesday.
“I think so many people from Branson went over to help in Joplin and having seen that, it was fresh on our minds,” said Presley, the mayor whose family owns the Presleys’ Theater on the main strip. “We all reached for our loved ones a little sooner and got to the basement a little faster.”
Branson leaders insisted Wednesday that the city remains open for business, suggesting that any repairs and rebuilding would happen in a matter of days.View Entire Story
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