The massive tornado that roared through southwest Missouri Saturday evening has now claimed a 16th victim. A Newton County firefighter, died this afternoon from injuries sustained during the storm. Susie Stonner, with the State Emergency Management Agency, says at one point the storm was classified as an F-4.
"According to the National Weather Service they feel it was an F-4 tornado when it landed near Racine," says Stonner, "and it was between an F-2 and an F-3 tornado as it continued through Newton County on into Berry County."3
Winds in an F-4 tornado are clocked between 166 and 200 miles per hour, and the scale only goes up to F-5. Stonner says federal and state agencies are working together to assess the damage, and the Governor is touring the area.
"Right now we have a lot of volunteers that are assisting; they’re coming in to assist in Newton County," says Stonner, "Newton County has set up an area to receive volunteers and to assign them for such things as debris removal, helping citizens go through things, and clean up. Donations are starting to pour in to Newton County, and they’re also establishing donation distribution centers for the citizens."
For those who wish to help, or donate items or money, Stonner suggests calling the United Way 2-1-1 line to find out what is needed.