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EF-2 Tornado Rips Through Christian County

Updated: Monday, February 24 2014, 10:27 AM CST

The
National Weather Service confirms it was an EF-2 tornado with winds up
to 115 miles per hour that tore through Christian County Thursday night.

First responders say one of the hardest hit areas was Pana.

"We
heard the loud noise and I mean all you could tell was a roar. They
always say like a freight train so we went to the basement," Pana
resident Ron Morell said.

Morell and his wife huddled there for less than three minutes and during that time they heard the storm moving through.

"Big crash. You just knew, I thought at first it was the house," Morell said.

When
it was over they came upstairs to a blown-off front porch and the
garage now only a pile of splintered wood on top of their vehicles. The
house was otherwise unscathed.

"I've never had a claim," Morell said.

Now he has three.

Across the street, neighbors pick up the pieces of their shattered shed.

"I didn't know what to think until I got here and I was sick to my stomach," Pana resident Monica Puckett said.

Her
10-year-old son sought sheltered behind the couch while she drove home
from the bank. The shelter for the neighborhood's boats, vehicles and
outdoor appliances was destroyed.

"[My son] called me and said, 'Mom our pavilion is gone. It's out in the pond and debris is everywhere,'" Puckett said.

But all of their homes, once again, untouched. The family of a home on the other side of town was not so lucky.

Deputies
say a fallen tree limb hit a power line and caught the house on fire.
Everyone got out okay but Ameren says close to 4,000 customers were
plunged into darkness as deputies scrambled to respond to emergencies.

"At first there's a lot of chaos out there," Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp said.

Only two dispatchers were on staff Thursday night handling it all.

"It gets pretty crazy down in our 911 center when this hits," Kettelkamp said.

But no one seriously hurt. An entire county is thankful it wasn't worse.

"My boy, I grabbed and hugged him and he was upset. But it's okay it's just a big ol' mess," Puckett said.




EF-2 Tornado Rips Through Christian County


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