A spring storm that produced at one least one small tornado made its way across Missouri on Wednesday, causing isolated power outages and pelting parts of the state with hail the size of softballs.
Weather spotters reported a funnel cloud at 3:35 p.m. Wednesday near Potosi in eastern Missouri, while an hour earlier the Bates County emergency manager reported an EF0 tornado in southwest Missouri that destroyed a 60-foot machine shop, the National Weather Service said.
Several eastern Missouri counties were under tornado warnings Wednesday afternoon but all had expired by early evening.
Officials in Washington and St. Francois counties have received reports of flooding, along with downed trees and power lines. Part of a roof was blown off the Lyon’s Den building west of Potosi, but no one was inside, said Brad Barton, the 911 director for Washington County.
Hail as large as tennis balls also hammered the area and Missouri 21 was temporarily closed after a tree fell across it, Barton said.
“This is worse than we normally have for a spring storm,” Barton said, adding that fire crews rescued one driver whose vehicle got stuck in high water. But he said the situation wasn’t life-threatening.
Alan Wells, the 911 director and the deputy emergency management director for St. Francois County, said a couple of drivers also got stuck in water in his county but that they were able to get out on their own. Crews also have checked out reports of lighting striking buildings.
He said he was hoping that “good Lord willing” the community would avoid a tornado.