All employees of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Jefferson City, are safe following a tornado that struck the state capital around midnight Wednesday. The building also escaped damage.
Across town, Central Electric Power Cooperative reported minor damage to its facility but otherwise came through the storm in good shape. A motel housing co-op employees who were attending a training class at AMEC also suffered damage, but the employees are all safe.
Damage occurred in a 3-mile-wide swath centered near Lincoln University. Many homes lost roofs and apartments collapsed, injuring some. There were no deaths reported.
Around the state, both Three Rivers Electric, Linn, and Barton County Electric, Lamar, suffered considerable damage from apparent tornados. A total of 5,877 electric cooperative members were without power at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, with 3,019 of those at Three Rivers and 1,413 at Barton County.
Crews around the state worked through the night in heavy rain to restore power. Much of the damage involves lines twisted together with fallen trees. Roads in many cases are impassable, and crews must wait on heavy equipment to clear the way.
Some of the outages are left over from a series of storms that have plagued the cooperatives since Saturday. There's been little rest for cooperative linemen, including those out of harm's way that are helping repair damage at other systems.
More crews are heading into the areas affected today.
Missouri's electric cooperatives remind the public to stay clear of any downed power lines. Any downed line should be considered hot and dangerous.
Jim McCarty is the editor of Rural Missouri, the statewide publication for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.