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Tornado ravages Orrick Saturday, causes lots of damage but no injuries

An estimated 80 percent of the town of Orrick sustained damage during a tornado on Saturday, but as in disasters past, Orrick’s 800 or so residents plan to clean up, rebuild and move on.

On Sunday, emergency workers were manning checkpoints at access points to the city, keeping careful tabs on who was coming and going. In part, the effort was to help keep the streets clear of extraneous vehicles and people, but it also helped to deter gawkers and even possible looters or others looking to take advantage of the post-storm chaos.

Among those being let in were Orrick residents, emergency aid workers and volunteers, insurance representatives, utility crews and the occasional member of the news media.

Excelsior Springs was lucky enough to dodge the storm; the tornado sirens didn’t even go off here. But in Orrick, sirens sounded in plenty of time to alert residents to seek shelter, and that likely contributed to the fact that there were no reported injuries or fatalities caused by the storm.

Driving through the town on Sunday, some properties seemed relatively unscathed, with branches and other debris littering the yards and shingles, gutters or other parts of the home damaged or missing.

In other places, trees had fallen on houses, garages and cars, or entire buildings were collapsed. In some areas, sheet metal from sheds or pole barns hung in trees, banging in the wind.

The National Weather Service said the tornado was part of a “supercell storm” that had taken shape over the Kansas City area earlier in the day, then moved eastward. Afterward, the storm apparently produced another tornado near Marshall. There were also no injuries reported from that twister.

As Orrick cleans up, school officials opted to cancel classes both Monday and Tuesday, but the graduation ceremony scheduled for Sunday, May 18, will go on as planned—just not in Orrick. Instead, the commencement will take place at Excelsior Springs High School, two days after Excelsior Springs’ own class of 2014 graduates.

Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency for Orrick, and said in a press release on Sunday that the Missouri State Highway Patrol is pitching in to help, as are agencies like the Salvation Army.

A tornado ripped through Orrick Saturday, spewing wreckage throughout the town and even in the trees. Despite the massive damage, no one was injured in the storm. (Photo by Eric Copeland)

A tornado ripped through Orrick Saturday, spewing wreckage throughout the town and even in the trees. Despite the massive damage, no one was injured in the storm. (Photo by Eric Copeland)

By Eric Copeland • eric@leaderpress.com

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