County endures another round of rough weather

Straight-line winds on Saturday afternoon toppled this large tree, upending the huge rootball and bringing down utility lines on Highway 181 in Gainesville.

Former Gainesville mayor Don Luna is barely visible behind and to the left of the huge tree that fell Saturday in the large lawn of the home he and his wife, Barbara, recently moved into near the Gainesville Memorial Airport. The house was built several decades ago by Barbara’s parents, Dorcas Rackley and the late Donald Rackley. The tree that fell Saturday landed near the stump of another large tree that broke off and fell several years ago.

Ozark County endured some rough weather in the past week. Late Saturday afternoon strong, straight-line winds toppled several trees around the area. This week’s sheriff’s report, page A8, lists eight calls reporting downed trees and/or power lines in a little more than an hour, beginning at 4:30 p.m. May 18.

Two large trees fell at homes on Highway 181 west of the airport in Gainesville, including one at the home of former Gainesville mayor Don Luna and his wife Barbara, who recently moved into the home built decades ago by Barbara’s parents, Dorcas Rackley and the late Donald Rackley. A few houses away, another large tree fell on utility lines in the home’s front yard. 

At 4:51 p.m. Saturday, Shannon and Courtney Nelson were about to leave their Zanoni-area home on FF Highway when a tree fell, bringing down a power line and trapping them in their vehicle.

“It was a freak thing. It happened quick, in the blink of an eye,” Shannon said Monday. “We were getting ready to leave, and that wind came through, and the tree fell over. It brought down the power line enough to spark it and kicked the breaker – but we didn’t know that. We didn’t know if the line was live or not.”

The tree’s limbs broke out the windshield of the couple’s pickup, and because they didn’t know the status of the electrical line they were trapped inside the vehicle “for two or three hours,” Shannon said, while they waited for Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative linemen. 

Caney Mountain Volunteer Fire Department  responded to the call, “but there wasn’t anything they could do until the electric guys got here,” Shannon said.

Meanwhile, another large tree fell across Highway 181 at the top of Zanoni Hill.

The county got a two-day reprieve, then another strong storm swept through early Tuesday morning, with a tornado warning issued for northeastern Ozark County and a flash flood watch issued county-wide. 

At press time Tuesday, no reports of damage or injury had been received.

More severe weather was predicted for Tuesday afternoon.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423