Deadly Tornado Rips Through Southeast Missouri

March 1, 2017 (STL.News) The severe weather forecasted by the National Weather Service on Tuesday became a tragic reality in southeast Missouri.

On Tuesday night a powerful tornado swept through Perry County Missouri, leaving at least one person dead. Hank Voelker, director of the Perry County Emergency Management Agency, detailed the devastation during a pre-dawn press conference on Wednesday.

“This morning many Perry County and Perryville citizens are waking up to the tragic news that has so greatly impacted our community. We are deeply saddened and ask for your thoughts and prayers for those affected by this tragedy.” said Voelker.

At least ten were injured in the storm. None of those injuries are said to be life threatening. The twister also caused significant property damage. Officials say dozens of homes were leveled when the tornado moved through a 15 mile path of the area.

The victim who was killed has been identified as 24-year-old Travis M. Koenig of Perryville. The Missouri Highway Patrol reports that Koenig was driving on I-55 when the tornado knocked his vehicle off of the roadway, causing it to flip. He was ejected from his vehicle. Koenig was pronounced dead at the scene.

Governor Eric Greitens responded to the devastation in Perry County with a Facebook post late Tuesday night:

“Tough and tragic news tonight out of Perryville where there are confirmed reports of a tornado touching down. Our thoughts and prayers are with the community and those affected. State Emergency Management was monitoring severe weather in the region and was prepared to respond to any situation. We have already deployed strike teams and resources, and this community should know that the full weight and support of the state of Missouri is behind you.”

Greitens also toured the damage in Perry County on Wednesday.
Emergency responders from throughout the state, including St. Louis County, are assisting with the recovery efforts in Perry County. The American Red Cross has also set up a shelter for the storm victims.

The United Way of Southeast Missouri has established an emergency fund to help Perry County recover and rebuild. More information is available online at http://www.unitedwayofsemo.org/donate.

Tornados also ripped through parts of Illinois Tuesday night, with Ottawa being the hardest hit area. Illinois State Police say one person was killed there. Another fatality was reported in Crossville, Illinois.

Ameren Illinois officials say dozens of power lines and poles were knocked down during the severe weather. Six-thousand customers were without power at the height of the outage. This only impacted a few hundred customers in the metro-east. Power was quickly restored for metro-east customers according to Ameren Illinois.