Storm That Hit Branson Was 22-Mile Tornado

March 2, 2012

The National Weather Service has confirmed that the heavy damage in the southwestern Missouri town of Branson was caused by a 22-mile-long tornado.

The agency’s office in Springfield said an EF2 tornado with maximum speeds of 120 to 130 mph began at 1:13 a.m. Wednesday near the Stone County town of Kimberling City, then sped east-northeast.

Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Kardell said the twister skipped along the edge of Table Rock Lake, then went “right down the commercial district” of Branson. The tornado ended about 22 miles from where it began, just east of Kissee Mills Mills in Taney County.

The tornado’s path had a maximum width of 400 yards. Besides the destruction in Branson, it also damaged or destroyed about 60 homes in the Kimberling City area.

Connie Gutting, manager of the Kimberling Inn Resort, said the resort was full of anglers preparing for a large fishing tournament planned for Thursday.

Gutting told the Springfield News Leader that the tornadoes destroyed the inn’s three docks and damaged many of the boats that tournament participants had brought with them for the tournament, which has been canceled.

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