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Officials in Callaway County offer a helping hand to Jefferson City

Officials in Callaway County offer a helping hand to Jefferson City

May 24th, 2019 by Jenny Gray in Local News

No one would dare try a tame stroll along Stinson Creek under Fulton's traffic circle this week. On Thursday morning, water levels in this and other drainage systems were high due to storms pounding the region this week.

Photo by Jenny Gray /Fulton Sun.

While no serious storm damage was reported in Fulton after Wednesday's severe weather, City Administrator Bill Johnson said assistance has been offered to those towns hit by damages.

"We really had no damage," he said. "We made contact with Jefferson City very early this morning and offered assistance. There's a chance that our police and fire may go down to assist with door-to-door inspections."

Johnson added assistance from other city departments, such as roads and utilities, also was offered.

"Anything Jefferson City needs," he said. "You just never know when Fulton may need (assistance). We try to help out when they need it."

National Weather Service officials said the EF-3 tornado moved into Jefferson City about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday. This event's rating indicates 160 miles per hour wind. Other areas showing damage were also being studied by a NWS survey team.

Holts Summit Mayor Landon Oxley said he had to travel with his father to Capital Regional Medical Center about 5 a.m. Thursday. The hospital, on Madison Street just south of Jefferson City's downtown area, was in the heart of the storm's impact.

"I'm looking out the window at Capital Region, and I can see debris all over the place," Oxley said. "I can see trees down and insulation blown around, and I see a Howard County ambulance that just pulled in. The hospital said they were running on emergency power for awhile, but they're back up now."

Oxley added there was no serious damage in Holts Summit.

"Holts Summit PD (police) has been helping Jeff City through the night," he said. "Of course, we'll continue to help."

Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism is also standing by.

"I was in contact with Cole County Sheriff John Wheeler overnight and offered any needed resources," Chism said Thursday. "Sheriff Wheeler has indicated resources may be needed later today, and upon his call, we'll respond immediately."

When the storm broke out in Cole County, Callaway County Emergency Management Director Michelle Kidwell was receiving direct emergency information from the National Weather Service.

"Upon a tornado emergency being declared for the Jefferson City area including southern Callaway County, additional Callaway County Sheriff's Office staff members came on duty to respond to the southern part of Callaway County," Chism said. "Over the course of approximately three hours, myself and several deputies checked roadways and townships in the path of the storm cell that produced the tornado in Jefferson City."

They did not locate any major damage, although several small trees were downed in the path.

"Also, while deputies were on State Highway 94, they found areas where flood water was beginning to come over the roadway as the Missouri River continued to rise," Chism added.

Callaway County Emergency Medical Services officials said they sent an ambulance to Jefferson City to provide relief for the Cole County EMS crews who worked through the night.

Helping first responders on Thursday was a truck full of hot meals furnished by Champs Chicken, operated by PFSbrands of Holts Summit. They were standing by in downtown Jefferson City by the Adams Street Police Station.

"I think they're just down there and serving as long as people need to eat," said Amanda Wagner, director of marketing for the firm. "We just wanted to get out there quick and help."

The University of Missouri is also offering assistance to those affected by the violent tornado that touched down in Jefferson City. University leaders have been in contact with state and local officials, as well as individuals from Lincoln University, to offer resources and assistance, including housing for those displaced and help with cleanup efforts.

"Our thoughts are with the residents of Jefferson City this morning, and with the emergency crews working so hard to protect their citizens and work on cleanup and recovery efforts," MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said. "Mizzou teams are working to determine how we can help further."

Gary Ward, vice chancellor for operations, said temporary housing would be available on campus for affected University of Missouri employees, students and their families as well as those connected to Lincoln University displaced by the storms. Those in need of housing should contact MU Residential Life at 573-882-7275.