POWERSITE, Mo. - An EF-1 tornado tore through the city of Powersite. It tossed trees that are hundreds of years old into homes and vehicles. Dozens of families are digging out from underneath the debris.
"You can't recognize the house," Ryan Ogden said while pointing to what was his front door. Large uprooted trees crashed down on his mobile home from nearly every angle. A gut feeling sent Ryan and Elizabeth Ogden to her mom's for shelter. "There were three people injured and no deaths,’ Ogden said. “If we were in it there would be two deaths and three injuries."
The couple is waiting for chainsaws to cut a path to their home. They don’t know what if anything is salvageable. "I was speechless I couldn't hold myself together to think all the hard work my wife and I did is gone down the hole," Ogden said.
Just outside of Powersite on Silver Creek Road neighbors say a father and son narrowly survived. "It was wild,’ Bob Priest said. “They hid in the bathroom." Priest says his neighbors ran to his home for help. "Eric had on a pair of jeans and that was it. His dad had on shorts,” Priest said. “You could tell they had been hit with debris. They had stuff all over them. They were soaked."
Priest says the men were fortunate to survive because their mobile home was twisted and tangled. "The washing machine ended up where he was sleeping. They stumbled out. There was no electricity,” Priest said. “The only thing you could see was the lightening.
On Thursday the sound of chainsaws could be heard across the community. As the sun set the sound of generators replaced the buzz of chainsaws. Many in the community are still without power. "Powersite has never seen a tornado like this," Ogden said.
Tornado survivors say a helping hand could go along way because there is a lot of work to do. "I would believe over 50% of the people are devastated by this," Ogden said. He says the community appreciates all they help they’ve received and would appreciate even more.
Despite all the damage, tornado survivors remain resilient. A large tree smashed through a woman’s roof and destroyed her bedroom. With the help of a man with a chainsaw, she decided she will use portions of the tree trunk to build a table.
Volunteers: Can stop by the Branson Chamber of Commerce or call (417) 243-2144
Tornado Survivors: If you need volunteers to help with clean up you can call (417) 243-2161
News Release from Taney County Emergency Officials: Starting 8 a.m. Friday, burnable vegetative debris and untreated lumber from county residents can be delivered to Forsyth Shoals Bend Park located at East Hwy 76 and Birmingham Road in Forsyth. Commercial haulers will not be accepted. Residents should use the Birmingham Road entrance for drop-off. The drop-off point will be available 7-day a week until March 11th from 8-5 a.m. This is a cooperative effort between Taney County and the City of Forsyth. All other materials should be taken to the Taney County Transfer Station on Buchanan Road just north of Branson.
Taney County Transfer Station on Buchanan Road will be accepting non-burnable storm debris from county residents at no charge through March 11th, Vegetative materials will not be accepted. The transfer station will NOT accept storm debris from commercial haulers. They will need to transfer their material direct to the landfill. The transfer station is expanding their hours to 8 - 5 daily 7-days a week until March 11th.
The Incident Management team is currently working on debris collection locations for the other affected areas. Citizens working in the debris area should be careful. The amount of exposed nails and fasteners present a high chance of injury and exposure to tetanus. If you have not had recent tetanus booster, please contact Taney County Health Department - 417-334-4544. For further information please contact Taney County Emergency Management at (417) 546-7233.