Firefighters in south-central Missouri’s Mountain Grove say Saturday’s storm that damaged a grocery store, car wash, homes and other buildings was caused by a “shelf cloud,” that had winds of 70 to 80 miles per hour. There were no serious injuries.

Saturday’s severe weather damaged the Country Mart grocery store in south-central Missouri’s Mountain Grove (August 29, 2020 photo courtesy of Mountain Grove Fire Department’s Facebook page)

National Weather Service (NWS) Springfield meteorologist Eric Wise describes a shelf cloud as one that forms on the leading edge of wind, in a line of storms.

State Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, credits managers at the Country Mart grocery store, for getting employees and customers to a secure room before the storm struck. She tells Missourinet that Country Mart’s protocol is getting people to a secure room quickly.

“And they got everybody in there (the secure room) and the storm went over and when the storm went over, they (employees) came out and obviously had some issues and some pretty extensive damage,” Kelly says.

Mountain Grove, which has about 4,600 residents, is 60 miles east of Springfield. While the storm knocked Country Mart’s sign down and damaged the building’s exterior, the grocery store re-opened Saturday evening. Kelly credits townspeople and volunteers from nearby counties, who used heavy equipment and machinery to remove debris.

“And I could see businesses from across a couple of counties that were obviously there helping out and doing what needed to be done,” says Kelly.

Wise says the NWS Springfield office issued seven severe thunderstorm warnings on Saturday, from southeast Kansas to south-central Missouri. One of those was for Mountain Grove. The NWS Springfield office says frequent cloud-to-ground lightning was also reported, east of Springfield.

Kelly says there were power outages in Wright and Webster counties, and that the storm also damaged a Mountain Grove car wash.

“One picture in particular that really struck me was a van that someone had parked inside a car wash to take shelter from the winds, and that part of the building collapsed on the car,” Kelly says.

Mountain Grove firefighters say shelf clouds form a bow echo, and that the highest winds are at the leading edge. Several homes were also damaged from strong winds.

Representative Kelly describes Mountain Grove as a resilient community, where residents rally and try to help others in need.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s interview with State Rep. Hannah Kelly of Mountain Grove, which was recorded on August 30, 2020:

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