DALLAS COUNTY, Mo. - Dallas County Emergency Manager Jason Wendlandt says a possible tornado hit the Sierra Lane mobile home park killing one woman and injuring about 12 more people. Crews are still working to restore power in the Dallas County community just two miles south of Buffalo. Authorities are waiting to release the woman’s name until her family is notified. A curfew will start at 6:30 Wednesday night. No one will be allowed inside the mobile home park unless they are a first responder. The American Red Cross opened a shelter inside the existing tornado shelter at the Buffalo High School for anyone needing assistance.
The Dallas County Emergency Manager believes the damage was caused by an EF-1 or EF-2 tornado. KSPR News is waiting for confirmation from the National Weather Service. "There's my flat bottom boat up there in the tree," Johnnie Ray said while looking at his destroyed mobile home. He says the same storm tossed him and his son. "It had us rolling around in the trailer. It had tossed me out on the outside of my bedroom," Ray said. His son was thrown underneath debris. "When he came to, he came crawling to me." They covered up with a blanket and called 911 for help.
In the nearby mobile home park, one woman did not survive. "It's hard,” neighbor Sandy Kuhns said about the woman’s death through tears. She and her husband survived in their basement. "He looked out the window and saw one of the trailers in the trailer park on fire,” Kuhns said. “It was just a horrific sound of people screaming and hollering, something you won't forget.” Kuhns believes her weather radio saved their lives. She says they made it to their basement minutes before the storm hit.
The couple says they worked their whole lives to pay off everything they own. In an instant they say they lost most of it. “We don't know. We don't know if we are going to build back or not,” Kuhns said. “At our age, we lost barns. We lost everything. So what do you do? You can't ever afford enough insurance to replace everything.”
Despite their injuries or what they lost, survivors say they know it could have been worse. "I can’t say I’m surprised we didn’t see more fatalities but you always hate to see one,’ Emergency Manager Jason Wendlandt said. “One is always too many.”
Wendlandt says there are no tornado sirens in rural Dallas County. He says the nearby city of Buffalo does have tornado sirens but it is likely those living in the mobile home park did not hear them.