Governor Parson seeks Joint damage assessments in anticipation of requests for federal disaster declaration

Governor Mike Parson

Governor Mike Parson announced the state has begun the process to obtain federal disaster assistance for Missouri in response to severe storms and deadly tornadoes that swept across the state on December 10 leaving behind a trail of destruction, including extensive damage to electric power systems.

Governor Parson is requesting the Federal Emergency Management Agency work with state and local partners to conduct Preliminary Damage Assessments and review documentation from the following Missouri counties: Dunklin, Pemiscot, and Reynolds.

“Last Friday, a series of fast-moving severe storms affected several areas of Missouri, resulting in at least six tornadoes and causing two deaths,” Governor Parson said. “SEMA’s regional coordinators have helped local emergency managers with documenting extensive damage to public infrastructure, homes, businesses, electric power delivery systems, and emergency response costs in the impacted communities. Initial damage reports show a clear need for a formal review by FEMA as part of the federal disaster declaration process.”

The heaviest damage to electric cooperatives infrastructure occurred in Dunklin and Pemiscot counties, where over 20 large transmission towers and lines that transport power between New Madrid, Missouri, and Dell, Arkansas, were destroyed or heavily damaged. Utility crews have rerouted power from other sources until more permanent work can take place. Power outages from the storms peaked late December 10 and overnight at more than 30,000 customers without power.

Joint Damage Assessment Teams are made up of local emergency managers and representatives from the State Emergency Management Agency and FEMA. Working together, the teams assess and document storm damage. Requesting joint PDAs is one of the first steps the state must take in order to request the President declare a federal Major Disaster. Additional assessments may be requested as damage information is received from more counties.

The National Weather Service has confirmed the December 10 storms resulted in at least six tornadoes:

  • EF-0 in Wellsville (Montgomery County)
  • EF-1 in Branson West (Stone County)
  • EF-1 in Niangua (Webster/Wright County)
  • EF-2 in Ellington (Reynolds County)
  • EF-3 in Defiance (St. Charles County
  • NWS assessment teams continue to collect and survey storm damage to determine the EF rating for at least one deadly tornado in the Missouri Bootheel.

An 84-year-old woman was killed at her home in St. Charles County and a 9-year-old girl was killed at home in Pemiscot County during the storms.

SEMA is helping coordinate two comprehensive disaster assistance center events with volunteer and faith-based partners. These Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs) will be open on Friday, December 17, and Saturday, December 18, and assist disaster survivors with unmet needs, including insurance information, food stamp replacement, emergency financial assistance, and legal services. More details are below:

MARC #1 – St. Charles County

St. Paul’s United Church of Christ
150 Defiance Road, Defiance, MO 63341
Friday, December 17
4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

MARC #2 – Pemiscot County

Hayti Community Center
600 E. Washington Street, Hayti, MO 63851
Saturday, December 18
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Survivors are encouraged to attend one of the MARCs to receive in-person information and support services. Anyone impacted can also call United Way at 2-1-1 to be connected with recovery resources.