For the second time in less than a decade, many Monroe City residents were cleaning up after a severe storm raked their community.
While the tornado that swept through the city on March 12, 2006, and Wednesday night’s windstorm both caused significant damage, there were differences, according to Monroe City Mayor Neal Minor, who was in Washington, D.C., when the latest storm struck.
“When the tornado went through it kind of took one path through town and destroyed things within its path. From what I’m hearing this (damage) is a lot more spread out throughout the whole community,” said Minor, who was conferring via phone with city officials regarding the storm damage until 2:30 a.m. Thursday.
A big challenge was restoring electricity in the community.
“Power was out all night. It was an issue with Northeast Power. They got their lines reconnected. We had to shut our grid down again before we could power it back up with them,” said Minor. “As of this morning we didn’t have power at our water plant or our sewer plant, but we had enough reserve capacity to handle things for a little while. Mutual aid was coming in from Columbia and Hannibal and they were hoping to have the power restored to those utilities by this afternoon.”
Less damage in Palmyra
After blasting Monroe City, the same storm marched into Palmyra where the damage was not nearly as significant.
“We did fairly well, a lot better than I kind of thought we were watching the weather. We had a couple of damaged cars from tree limbs,” said Palmyra Police Chief Eddie Bogue.
Palmyra resident Mary McPike estimated the community’s warning siren sounded for half an hour.
“There was a lot of lightning and thunder and rain, of course,” she said. “It (storm) was hard enough. I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any harder.”
School was dismissed in Palmyra on Thursday after a rooftop HVAC unit was blown off its curbing and damaged a gas line.
“Most of the gas was outside, but there was some that did get into the building so this morning when the custodians arrived and we smelled gas I called the fire department and gas company,” said Superintendent Eric Churchwell. “The gas company brought their metering devices in here and saw what the levels were and said we probably shouldn’t have kids in here. I reluctantly cancelled school again today.”
The high school’s roof also sustained some damage.
“There will still be some repairs that need to be made, but right now we’ve got it buttoned up and we’ll be able to be business as usual tomorrow (Friday),” said Churchwell.
Page 2 of 2 - Some of Marion County’s most notable damage occurred on highways, according to John Hark, the county’s emergency management director.
“We had five tractor trailers that blew over, three out on Highway 36 and two up on 61 right there in Palmyra,” he said.
A Nebraska man, who was driving a tractor-trailer that was toppled by high winds five miles east of Monroe City on U.S. 36, suffered minor injuries. (See accompanying story.)
“We also heard there was one outbuilding on a farm that was destroyed,” added Hark, noting that the sheriff’s department was conducting a damage survey on Thursday.