Hit Wednesday Night, July 19, All photographs were taken by me on July 20 & 22
Extensive damage throughout the county - thousands without electricity in intensive heat
Roads blocked with fallen trees - also a lot of power lines down

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The left branch is entangled in our chain link fence & the other branch is on the other side of the drive-way near the edge of the woods.  We had some other smaller branches broken off of a few other trees & LOTS of twigs & leaves all over the yard but that is the extent of our tornado damage.   The main problem was having no electricity in such intense heat.  We have a generator that we've used before in emergencies but this time it didn't work.  The motor would run but it would not put out any juice.  They had cooling centers around the county but pets were not allowed & I wasn't going anywhere without my babies. After two nights of enduring stifling heat we finally located a kennel in the next county that had air conditioning so we took our 10 cats & 2 dogs over there where they could be comfortable. We also found a motel not far from the kennel so we checked in & got comfortable too. We were lucky as it was the last room available.

Below are pictures of tornado damage at the Washington County Sheriff's Department & jail. 

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A branch off of a large tree squashed one of the patrol cars.

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Below are miscellaneous pictures from various places around the county.

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R & M Feed Store in Potosi lost most of it's roof.

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Overturned trailor on Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lot.

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Electric power lines were entangled in this large tree that split & fell over on the roof of my mother's house.

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Tornado 2006-19.jpg (26935 bytes)


11,000 Still without power

By: Paula Barr\Daily Journal Staff Writer
July 21, 2006  11:18:26 CDT

Emergency officials in Washington County spent Thursday trying to obtain generators, cots and water for the area. Water continued to be a top concern, as only one pump is working and the main water tank for the area is out of service. State Rep. J. C. Kuessner, D-Eminence, was trying to arrange to borrow a generator from the Department of Corrections once power was restored to the prison. Instead, Ameren workers were trying to hook up a National Guard generator this morning, but officials were not certain it was big enough to handle the job.

Although residents had been urged to conserve water, some were ignoring the request and were watering their lawns, Potosi Mayor T.R. Dudley said.

“We had people watering their lawns,” Dudley said. “I would have thought that asking them to conserve was clear. Apparently, we have to say specifically, please don't water your lawns.”

The county and city both declared the area a disaster area and asked the state to do the same. As of this morning, that had not happened.

“They say they won't consider it until we have a total assessment of damages,” Washington County Commissioner Bob Reed said in frustration. “Without power and phones, we still haven't heard from everyone. How are we supposed to assess total damages?”

By late afternoon, temporary shelters had been established in Potosi Elementary School, the Potosi Elks Club, the Handicapped Center, Kingston K-14 school district, Richwoods Lions Den, Potosi Fire Station #1, St. Joachim School, Bonne Terre Nutrition Center and the Farmington Civic Center.

Debra Lynch and her friends headed to the fire station before noon.

“My M.S. doesn't like the heat,” said Lynch. “This is wonderful.”

Approximately 10,000 Washington County residents and fewer than 1,000 St. Francois County homes remained without power this morning as a result of a powerful storm that hit the area Wednesday night.

“We had about 20,000 outages in Washington, St. Francois and Iron counties,” Ameren spokesman Mike Cleary said. “We hope to have most of the power restored by the end of the weekend, but individual cases might take longer.”

The hardest hit area appears to be in the central part of Potosi, where downed power lines and trees still blocked several streets this morning.

Cleary said utility co-ops and other agencies were helping Ameren restore services. In the Washington, Iron and St. Francois counties area, about 70 forestry workers, 60 line workers and 15 field checkers are clearing and restoring lines. Another 23 line workers were expected today.

Jared Falk, of Sen. Kevin Engler's office, headed up the Potosi Elementary School shelter during the day.

“Things are going well, although the kids are getting a little stir crazy,” Falk said.

A nurse and nurse practitioner were on hand, and Potosi School Supt. Randy Davis called in food service workers to make supper and breakfast for those who stayed over night. About 150 people of all ages stayed the night.

Restaurants along Missouri 21 fared well during the day. Electric had been restored early and business was booming.

“We've done about $500 more than usual for the day shift,” general manager Jodi Pratt said. “We've been delivering all over the county.”

Theresa and Michael Bates had no power at their restaurant on Main Street, so they fired up the gas grill and cooked up all the meat that had been in the freezer of Mama T's Country cafe.

“We're trying to do a little barbecue business,” Theresa Bates said. “Our freezers did OK, but we lost a lot of food like potato salad, salad dressing, all that kind of stuff.”

The power outage affected retail stores as well. There wasn't a D battery to be found in the Potosi Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart in Desloge sold out of battery fans by midday.

Sheba Kelly-Kennon, the manager of the Bonne Terre Family Center, said her store had sold 37 generators by 1 p.m. on Thursday.

“People were coming from everywhere,” Kennon said. “We sold five chainsaws and ran out of several chains. Since then we have replenished our supply of chains, though. We sold all of the generators that we had in stock and started taking orders for more.”

Kennon said the generators are expected to arrive at her store by 1 p.m. today.

“This storm is such a horrible thing,” Kennon said. “We have people just come into the store and sit and wait for the generators because they don't have anywhere else to go.

Fema Tours Washington County Friday Afternoon
By Paula Barr\Daily Journal Staff Writer
Friday, Jul 21, 2006 - 21:41:44 CDT

Residents without electricity were offered air mattresses and cots to sleep on in the school's cafeteria. St. Francois County and the YMCA of the Ozarks camp provided approximately 100 cots, according to Washington County Presiding Commissioner Bob Reed.

Washington County Sheriff Kevin Schroeder said two FEMA assessors toured Potosi and the county with local officials to estimate damage from Wednesday's storm. Those totals could be ready sometime today.

Schroeder said some people took unfair advantage of the darkness from the power outage.

“We had eight attempted burglaries last night,” he said Friday. “They knew the burglar alarms were out and decided to take whatever they could get.”

Potosi police reported no unusual criminal activity during the outage.

After Blunt deemed the area in a state of emergency, National Guardsmen arrived with a generator and a desire to help, emergency officials noted.

Bush's order authorized FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. In a prepared statement, Bush authorized FEMA to “identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.” Debris removal, direct federal assistance and other emergency protective measures will be provided at 75 percent federal funding, Bush said.

Damage assessors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency toured Washington County Friday after Gov. Matt Blunt and President George W. Bush declared the area in a state of emergency.

Bush ordered federal aid to help state and local emergency response members. Four National Guardsmen were in the county and handed out food staples and water from the courthouse Friday afternoon. More food and water are expected today for Washington County residents who lost food in the power outage.

By afternoon, pumps were working at all but the main water tank in Potosi and most city residents had power restored. However, another 9,200 households in Washington and Iron counties and 630 customers in St. Francois County remained without power as of 5:30 p.m. Some of those outages were the result of a storm that hit the area shortly after noon Friday. That storm also hit the St. Louis area, bringing the total to 430,000 customers in the metro area without power, Ameren spokesman Mike Cleary said.

Washington County Memorial Hospital handled more than 50 patients with heat-related illnesses, some of whom were transferred to local nursing homes. The Potosi Elementary School remained opened as a cooling center on Friday and offered overnight accommodations Friday night.

09:53 P.M.   Friday, July 21, 2006             Fema Press Release

WASHINGTON – The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush declared an emergency exists in the State of Missouri and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms beginning on July 19, 2006, and continuing.

FEMA Director David Paulison said the President's action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population. FEMA is also authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe. The emergency declaration is for the independent City of St. Louis, the counties of Dent, Iron, Jefferson, St. Charles, St. Louis, and Washington.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.

Representing FEMA, Paulison named Thomas J. Costello as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.


Power outages continue, but with cooler temperatures
Cooling centers offer water, ice and food as temperatures drop

Since the temperatures had dropped Saturday, cooling stations in Washington County were transformed into distribution centers for residents to get water, ice and food.

The distribution centers are located at the fire stations in Belgrade, Caledonia, and Irondale, St. Joachim School, Mineral Point school, Ebo school, Richwoods Lions Club, Grassy Hollow Church, New Diggins Church, Stony Point Baptist Church, Potosi Assembly of God Church, Antioch Church and Community Center and Washington County Courthouse.

Washington County Sheriff Kevin Schroeder said things have been going well since they set up an Emergency Operations Center at the Washington County Courthouse Thursday morning.

He said they were frantic in the beginning, trying to go through the red tape to acquire food and resources they needed. He said once they got through the red tape, things began rolling smoothly.

Missouri Baptist Convention Disaster Relief has been providing distribution centers and the homebound with hot meals. The first of these meals were provided at noon Saturday. Schroeder said this will continue for each meal until the power comes back on.

The same group also has a chainsaw crew to help remove trees from buildings and properties. Schroeder said all of the roadways in Washington County are passable.

A shelter has been set up at Potosi Elementary School. Schroeder said the number of people staying in the school has gone up and down over the past few days. The highest number of people there at one time was 121.

“We had more people when the temperature was higher,” he said. “Now that it has cooled off many are able to return home.”

St. Francois County officials also had places for people to cool off and get water Saturday. Sheriff Dan Bullock said the Farmington Civic Center, the county jail, the Bismarck VFW, Terre Du Lac pavilion and the Leadwood fire station were serving as cooling centers throughout the weekend. For more information, call 431-3131.

In addition, Bullock said about 400 residents of St. Louis nursing homes were moved to area nursing homes that had power.

According to Ameren, companies had restored approximately 555,000 customers in Metro St. Louis affected by the devastating July 19 and July 21 storm. An estimated 430,000 remained without power in the Metro area.

That number of restored customers grew by 130,000 since Friday night alone. A late morning storm Friday caused service disruptions for an estimated 200,000 additional customers, 100,000 in the Metro St. Louis area and 100,000 in Illinois.

More than 3,600 contractors and employees, up from 2,700 Friday, are working to restore power. These workers are from several states.

A number of companies have sent crews and others have committed additional people, so more crews will be arriving in coming days.

The most recent storm has caused an overloaded condition on Ameren's Customer Service line, specifically the (314) 342-1000 and (314) 342-1111 numbers. Customers are asked to use the toll-free number: (800) 552-7583, regardless of their locations.


Many area residents were still without power Saturday and could continue to be until Monday or Tuesday.

As of 4 p.m. Saturday, 6,500 residents were without power in the Ironton-Potosi area. Mike Cleary, spokesperson for Ameren, said there were 347 without power in St. Francois County.

Cleary said unfortunately, they were not making as much progress as they had initially hoped. He said some of these lines are in rough rugged area and the damage is extensive.

“It could be Monday or Tuesday before we get everyone back on,” he said. They had initially hoped power would be restored late this weekend.


As of Monday the 24th of July there were still over 2600 people in Washington County without electricity.