Midwest Leap Day Tornado Outbreak

Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska were slammed by deadly storms around 1 a.m. today. Massive damage, injuries and fatalities have been reported in Branson, Mo; Buffalo, Mo; Harveyville, Kansas; and Harrisburg, Illinois.

Small towns in Illinois and Kansas were hit hard. At least nine deaths are blamed on the tornadoes.

Tornado Forming in Kansas

According to a KRMG news article, a man at a hotel in Branson, Mo. told KRMG, “Next thing I know the entire building is starting to shake. I believe there’s 12 floors to the hotel. You could hear windows being blown out and you could see debris out the window,” Corey Hall said. “The storm hit from both sides. It just basically went over the top of the hotel.”

The Christian Science Monitor quoted Branson’s Mayor “We were blessed with several things—the time of year and certainly the time of day, when people were not in their vehicles or outdoors,” said Mayor Raeanne Presley, noting that during Branson’s peak season, up to 60,000 visitors would have been in the city on any given day and staying in many of the hotels that were damaged.

Tulsa World News posted a historic record of previous Leap Day tornado outbreaks.  The growing reports indicate that 2012 may be the worst Leap Day outbreak yet.

February 29 2012 05:32 pm | Tornado

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