Intense storms rake Midwest

BY GEORGE PIPER | COLUMBIA, Mo. | November 10, 1998

COLUMBIA, Mo. (Nov. 10, 1998) -- Powerful winds flattened 20 homes in this

Missouri college town and sent residents scurrying into the streets in the

early Tuesday morning hours.

Officials say another 50 to 100 structures were damaged on Columbia's

southeast edge, where a mix of families and University of Missouri college

students call home. At least 16 people received minor injuries.

"Somebody was saying it was like all of the air was sucked out of the

buildings for 10 or 15 seconds," said Kate Harry, who works at the Newman

Center, a Roman Catholic ministry located on the UM campus.

The center is serving as a clothing distribution center for those who lost

possessions in the storm. Staff members also are working with some 25

parish families who lived in the affected Southridge area.

Single family homes and duplexes -- most of them five years old or less --

dotted the subdivision. Harry is concerned that college students living

there may not carry renter's insurance and thus will not be reimbursed for

their losses.

While the Newman Center begins catering to its families, other

organizations are pitching in as well.

The Community Harvest Food Bank, the Voluntary Action Center the Salvation

Army and the local American Red Cross chapter are providing food, shelter

and disaster relief, reports the Rev. John D. Baker at First Baptist Church

in Columbia.

Woodcrest Chapel Baptist Church scheduled a dinner Tuesday night for storm

survivors, he added.

Columbia is just one community in a wide swath of storms that dumped snow

in the Upper Midwest, toppled trees and caused power outages throughout the

nation's midsection. At least seven deaths are attributed to the storm,

which ranged from North Dakota to Texas.

More than nine inches of snow fell in the Dakotas and parts of Minnesota.

Fueled by strong winds, blowing snow made driving hazardous and caused some

600 miles of highways to close.

Top wind speeds reached 95 mph. Gusts blew down power lines, which led to

widespread interrupted electrical service and blackouts for hundreds of

thousands of residents. Strong winds also uprooted trees, and four deaths

are attributed to falling trees.

Posted Nov. 11, 1998

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