East Clay County Pounded by Storm
For the second afternoon in a row, a line of strong thunderstorms rolled through Eastern Clay County on Monday. Both systems brought with them high winds, heavy rain and some scattered hail. Both also resulted in widespread damage, with the Monday afternoon system leaving a path of destruction which included hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to homes, businesses and infrastructure—although, luckily there were no reports of injury.
The storm on Sunday afternoon prompted several reports of wind damage, with outbuildings, free-standing garages and trees bearing the brunt. On West Court Street in Piggott, a large tree was blown onto a mobile home but authorities report the elderly woman living there was not injured.
Adding insult to the earlier injury, the system which roared through on Monday was substantially stronger and damage was reported over a large area of the county and Southeast Missouri. Power outages were also reported from just north of Rector to the state line, and as of Tuesday morning crews were still working to restore it in some areas.
In Piggott, a large tree was blown down on Frisco Lane, knocking out power to a major portion of the city. Another issue along South Thornton knocked the traffic light out of commission for a time, and prompted the closure of many businesses due to lack of power. Power lines in other areas were also affected, forcing local utility workers into another long night of restoration as some customers were without power until the early morning hours.
The east edge of Piggott was especially hard hit, with major damage to the MFA Agri Services MidSouth facility on U.S. 62, which resulted in a massive debris field across farmland to the southeast.
Two sections of the roof of the old hangar at the Piggott Airport also succumbed to the high winds, and were blown onto the parking lot of Baker Implement.
Many trees were downed around the Two-Mile-Turn area, and a large limb fell onto the home of Frankie Faulk on Highway 1 nearby, resulting in major damage.
To the north, a number of trees were down in the area of the Shady Grove Church and the church building sustained roof damage. The town of St. Francis also bore the brunt, with a number of damage reports. And, just north of the state line a Union Pacific train derailed onto its side during the storm although, at last report, officials were still unsure if the winds caused the derailment.
As of Tuesday morning the National Weather Service had yet to make a determination of the cause of the damage, although only straight-line winds had been forecast and there were no tornado watches or warnings at the time.