NWS confirms Oct. 21 storm was tornado as commissioners discuss clean-up efforts

The National Weather Service in Springfield said structures were damaged and hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted Oct. 21 by the EF-1 tornado that tore through the northeastern section of Ozark County. This large oak was blown down, blocking a residential driveway off County Road 154.

The National Weather Service in Springfield confirmed last week that the nighttime storm which swept through Ozark County in the early morning hours of Monday, Oct. 21, was an EF-1 tornado with peak winds of 105 miles per hour.  

The  NWS announcement, described as “preliminary,” said the tornado touched down near Bryant Creek at Sycamore at 2:13 a.m. and was on the ground 12 minutes along a 13-mile path and had a maximum width of 1/4 mile. It ended near  Siloam Springs in Douglas County at 2:25 a.m. 

The  report said the tornado “heavily damaged numerous outbuildings and trees along Highway CC southwest of Dora.” Two mobile homes were damaged along the highway, “with one of the homes losing a roof and being pulled off its foundation,” it said 

According to the report, the tornado continued northeast, crossing Highways 181 and 14 and “snapping and damaging hundreds of trees before lifting along Highway 289 in southeastern Douglas County to the northeast of Dora.”

Photos of the storm damage were published in last week’s edition of the Times. 

Western Ozark County Commissioner Greg Donley said at Monday’s commission meeting that county road crews had worked all last week cleaning up damage from the storm, and they will be hauling off the debris this week. Eastern District Commissioner Gary Collins said his crews are cutting up downed trees and pushing them into ravines, where they can later be burned. “We have too many bones broke,” said Collins, referring to the fact that Ozark County seems to be in a perpetual cycle of recovering from storm damage. 

At their meeting, the commissioners said that, while crews work to clean up the recent storm damage, only about 50 percent of repairs from the April 2017 flood have been completed in the eastern district, and about 30 percent have been completed in the western district. 

Part of the delay has to do with finances. “We can’t do it all at once, or we might run out of funds. We have to string it out,” Donley said. 

Apart from paying for the repairs, which FEMA is expected to eventually reimburse the county for, at least in the case of the 2017 flood, the sheer amount of damage has caused a major backlog. “We just haven’t had the time to haul base rock,” said Donley.

Looking ahead, commissioners noted that, week after next, when their regular Monday meeting falls on Veterans Day, a holiday, they will instead meet Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Ozark County Times

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