Residents in a small northwest Missouri town that took a direct hit from an EF2 tornado were busy on May 11 assessing damage and rescheduling events, like the coming high school graduation.
The tornado Saturday evening in Orrick yanked roofs off homes and other buildings and also ripped up trees and power lines. No injuries were reported amid the widespread damage. The town of around 800 residents is about 25 miles northeast of Kansas City.
By early Sunday, the Orrick High School website had posted a “huge thank you to everyone who has sent us offers of help and prayers.” The note signed by the Orrick administration said the district was still assessing damage and had canceled classes in Orrick for Monday and Tuesday because it didn’t want “anyone in the building until it’s deemed safe to enter.”
The high school graduation, however, will go on.
“The graduation ceremony scheduled for May 18th at 2:00 will still take place, but at the Excelsior Springs High School gym,” the note said. Excelsior Springs is located about 15 miles north of Orrick.
The National Weather Service said the tornado was part of a super cell storm that formed over the Kansas City metropolitan area earlier Saturday and continued eastward, spawning at least one more tornado that also struck near the town of Marshall.
Jenni Laflin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, said weather service survey crews were out Sunday assessing damage in Orrick, Marshall and elsewhere along the storm’s path. She said the lack of injuries in the tornado in Orrick may mean people heeded warnings.
“Hopefully it’s a sign that everyone was in their shelter and took precautions,” Laflin said.
Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency following the recent storms and tornadoes and activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate with local department to provide emergency services.