A tornado ripped through Bollinger County in southeastern Missouri early this morning.

At least five people have been killed and several others injured in the Glenallen area, and media outlets are reporting that about 1,500 people in the area are without power. Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Clark Perritt spoke with Missourinet affiliate KREI in Farmington.

“We are in an active search and rescue mode at this point,” he said. “We have established a unified command with the Bollinger County Sheriff’s Department — state and local officials all working together.”

The command center is set up at Woodland High School, just west of Marble Hill and east of Glenallen. Perritt identifies the hardest-hit areas.

“From what I saw, whenever I was driving in, west of Marble Hill out around the grassy area,” he said, “but I also understand that there is (damage) on the east side of Marble Hill ladder in the Glenallen area.”

Perritt said several roadways are blocked by downed trees and power lines, and he warns the public to stay away from storm-damaged areas.

“Trust the local media that when we say stay away that it’s bad — we mean stay away,” he said. “We don’t need weather tourists out here trying to take pictures and things like that. We need people to stay away so that first responders can get where they need to be.”

Gov. Mike Parson and state Senator Holly Thompson Rehder are in the tornado-damaged area today to check out the wreckage. Thompson Rehder, R-Scott City, represents Bollinger County.

“It’s so reassuring to see how rural America, how rural Missouri pulls together. And just the outpouring of support that I witnessed this morning for that community has been tremendous. It’s really reassuring and I know that the people are hurting so bad,” she said. “We’re going to do all that we can. Of course, it always takes a little bit of time federally to get help, but you know we have more ability hopefully to be able to help on the state side much quicker. I’ve had volunteers reach out from Sam’s Club, different community companies that have already reached out and that are working with the Red Cross to provide as much help immediately right now as possible.”

Glenallen’s population is less than 100 people.

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