October 31, 2014

Disaster declaration sought for 20 MO counties hit by Sept storms

Governor Nixon has asked the federal government to declare 20 counties in northern Missouri a disaster area, due to severe storms September 9 and 10. The declaration would allow local governments to seek assistance for the costs of response and recovery.

File photo of flooding near Waynesville.

File photo of flooding near Waynesville.

Nixon says strong winds damaged schools and other public buildings and some areas experienced days of flooding. He says assessments revealed damage to roads, bridges, and low water crossings. During the storms’ peak impact, 70 roads were closed including parts of I-29 and U.S. 36.

In a statement Nixon writes, “The response and recovery costs to the affected communities – some of which had already been hit by damaging severe storms in May and June – will be extensive, and federal assistance with these costs will help the entire region rebuild and move forward.”

Nixon is asking for the disaster declaration in Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Daviess, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Mercer, Nodaway, Putnam, Ralls, Shelby, Sullivan and Worth counties.

VP Biden helps dedicate Joplin High School, tech center (VIDEO)

Students, staff, residents of Joplin and numerous dignitaries have dedicated the new Joplin High School/Franklin Technology Center, marking another milestone in the city’s recovery from a devastating tornado three years ago.

The ceremony was highlighted by a speech by Vice President Joe Biden and an attempt at a Guinness world record for the longest ribbon cutting ceremony.

Biden told the crowd that Joplin offers inspiration to those who have gone through disasters like that tornado.

“You underestimate the hope all of you give Americans who have been broken and devastated by crises in their lives,” said Biden.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Governor Jay Nixon also spoke during the dedication.

Watch as Vice President Biden dons a Joplin cap, courtesy of Highschoolcube.com:


New Madrid Fault zone more dangerous (AUDIO)

The United States Geological Survey says the New Madrid Seismic Zone has grown and has become more dangerous in the last six years.

The USGS updates its earthquake assessments every six years. The newest study says 42 of the 50 states “have a reasonable chance of…damaging ground shaking…in 50 years.” The Survey also says “The New Madrid Seismic Zone has…a larger range of potential earthquake magnitudes and locations than previously identified.”



The finding comes four years after Northwestern University Professor Seth Stein suggested the fault is dead, a finding that the USGS Seismic Mapping Project Chief, Mark Petersen, thinks is wrong. He says a recent study has looked into whether recent small quakes are only aftershocks of the big earthquakes of 1811-1812 has found they are not aftershocks but are signals that the New Madrid Zone is still active.

Petersen says the New Madrid Zone is not just one fault. It’s a network of them. The new study includes eight new faults found by the nuclear industry that are within the zone or flank it.

Petersen says scientists are getting better at identifying earthquake zones. But science is no better than ever at predicting when the next big one might hit.

Weather Service warns of possible life-threatening storms today

Most of Missouri will have one round of severe weather to contend with today, that could include tornadoes, damaging winds, hail and flooding. Some of Missouri will have two.  

This graphic from the National Weather Service Office in St. Louis shows where the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma says there is a risk for severe weather today.

This graphic from the National Weather Service Office in St. Louis shows where the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma says there is a risk for severe weather today.

National Weather Service Meteorologists say storms today will be life-threatening and are urging Missourians to prepare now for severe weather. Governor Jay Nixon (D) has declared a state of emergency in response to the storms already happening and those to come.

A tornado watch has been issued for 21 counties in southeast and south-central Missouri, for storms that have already prompted a tornado warning in Arkansas this morning. Those storms are anticipated to sweep northeast from southwestern Missouri through the St. Louis area.

These storms could produce large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. Flooding is a possibility locally in southern Missouri, and more so in central and east-central Missouri where heavy rain has already fallen overnight.

Then for this afternoon will come storms that have caused the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma to say much of central and southern Missouri has a “moderate” risk for severe weather.

This graphic from the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill illustrates the threats of severe weather today.

This graphic from the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill illustrates the threats of severe weather today.

Today’s threat of tornadoes is the highest the state has been under so far this year, according to Meteorologist Jayson Gosselin with the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

“Unfortunately there will probably be at least one tornado in the state and there could be quite a few,” says Gosselin.

“It looks like it should warm up by this afternoon and get very unstable and a cold front will head from west to east across the state. Out ahead of that and along it we’re expecting thunderstorms that are going to be capable of very large hail, very strong winds as well as tornadoes possible.”

Storms are expected to form in Kansas and Oklahoma before sweeping through the state, first as discrete supercell thunderstorms, which Meteorologist Ryan Cardell with the Weather Service Office in Springfield says are generally the most dangerous.

“They can produce large hail, damaging winds and possibly stronger tornadoes,” says Cardell.

Farther east, storms are expected to gather into a line.

“At that point the threat will switch over to being more of a straight-line wind threat with isolated tornadoes. That will happen early in the evening sometime.”

Flash flood warnings have already been issued in a swath of central and eastern Missouri where rainfall totals have ranged from between 2.5 to more than 3 inches from storms overnight. Gosselin says if more heavy rain does move through, more flash flooding issues are likely.

“Everything is very saturated now,” says Gosselin.

“This is a good time … before the storms have formed … to dust off your emergency plans,” says Cardell. “Make sure that’s all ready so that when the watches do come out you can kind of start heightening your situational awareness to where the storms currently are, if they’ve formed, things like that, so that way you’re kind of ready. When the tornado warning happens you’ve got one foot in place heading into your disaster plan.”

For information for your area, tune in to your Missourinet affiliate station and visit these Weather Service office websites.

In northwest and western Missouri:  Kansas City (Pleasant Hill) and on Twitter @NWSKansasCity

In northeast and eastern Missouri:  St. Louis and on Twitter @NWSStLouis

In southwest Missouri:  Springfield and on Twitter @NWSSpringfield

In southeast Missouri:  Paducah, KY and on Twitter @NWSPaducah

Scotland and Clark counties:  Davenport, IA and on Twitter @NWSQuadCities

Crews responding to pipeline explosion north of Sedalia (UPDATED with Video)

3:15am UPDATE:

Matt Evans with KMBC tweets: “Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond: Several buildings still on fire near the pipeline explosion. Fire crews still working those fires.”

3:06am UPDATE:

A rupture and explosion in a gas pipeline in west-central Missouri overnight sent flames into the air that were visible for miles. Residents in Sedalia reported their homes were shaking.

The rupture happened around 1 a.m. south of Houstonia in a 30-inch gas natural gas pipeline outside a compressor station. Media reports indicate Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company shut off the flow of gas to the line and reported the fire on the pipeline was out around 2:30 a.m.

The company says no injuries or fatalities occurred. The cause of the rupture is under investigation.

Panhandle experienced a rupture in 2008 in Cooper County that resulted in a similar explosion. Flames in that incident were seen by witnesses more than 70 miles away.

In the 2008 rupture, more than 13-million cubic feet of natural gas was released and damage was calculated at more than $1-million. The cause of that rupture was attributed to corrosion.

2:34am UPDATE:

Matt Evans with KMBC in Kansas City tweets:  “Panhandle Eastern spokesperson: fire is out, valve is shut off & the company is now investigating exactly what happened.”

2:02am UPDATE:  

A representative of Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co says a 30-inch natural gas pipeline outside a compressor station has ruptured and exploded.  The company says there have been no injuries or fatalities. 

The cause is under investigation.

See a short video posted by Youtube user John Pahlow of the explosion and fire below:  

Original story: 

Representative Stanley Cox retweeted this photo taken by Frank Higgins of the fire resulting from an apparent pipeline rupture north of Sedalia.

Representative Stanley Cox retweeted this photo taken by Frank Higgins of the fire resulting from an apparent pipeline rupture north of Sedalia.

Emergency crews are responding to an explosion in west-central Missouri’s Pettis County.

Representative Stanley Cox (R-Sedalia) has tweeted that the explosion happened about 15 miles north of Sedalia in the Hughesville area, on the Panhandle Pipeline.   The Pettis County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed a pipeline explosion south of Houstonia.  A five-mile radius around the explosion has been evacuated.

Missourinet will have more information as it becomes available.