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Tornado kills one and damages dozens of homes in St. Charles County, Missouri

A Christmas tree still stands in a home that was severely damaged by a tornado in St. Charles County, near the community of Defiance.
Jonathan Ahl
/
St. Louis Public Radio
A Christmas tree still stands in a home that was severely damaged by a tornado in St. Charles County, near the community of Defiance.

The same storm system that hit Edwardsville and ravaged areas in Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee first reached tornado status near the community of Defiance.

More than two dozen homes were severely damaged, some even leveled, and one woman lost her life as a tornado touched down in St. Charles County near the community of Defiance.

It was the beginning of the storm system that ended up hitting the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville as well as causing damage and claiming lives in Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee.

The National Weather Service of St. Louis rated the tornado and EF-3 with winds topping out at 165 mph.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson toured the damage on Sunday morning, and said that early warning systems prevented the losses from being greater.

“I think one of the good sides of it, though, is that in today’s time, people have a lot better way of having warning devices, trying to figure out when to take shelter,” Parson said. “And I think we’ve seen that.”

Connie Kisker met with Parson at the former site of her sister’s home, which was destroyed by the tornado. Kisker’s parents also live nearby, and their home was severely damaged.

“They heard the tornado sirens, and my sister called my parents and said ‘Get to the basement’, and they were able to get down, too,” Sisker said. “So they did hear the sirens and were able to get down to their basements.”

Sisker’s sister, brother-in-law and parents all made it through with only minor injuries.

The storm continued moving southeast and struck Pemiscot County in the Bootheel region where a child was killed at home and at least nine people were transported to hospitals.

Parson said state resources will be available to help clean up and with rebuilding efforts. He also said he had talked with the White House about options for federal aid.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @JonathanAhl

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