810 RMU customers lose power

A strong storm system and associated cold front brought widespread showers and thunderstorms to the region Wednesday afternoon and evening, but Rolla appears to have missed the brunt of the damage.

Severe thunderstorms developed across south central Missouri generally east of a line from Branson to Rolla, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Storm damage was mostly limited to a some trees hit or down across roads.

The NWS reported moderate to heavy rainfall ranging from amounts of 1 to 2.5 inches that fell across much of the area.

There were reports of water over the road in some places. A report made to the NWS stated there was water over Highway E at Wild Cat Creek, northwest of Rolla, Wednesday evening.

Some of the storms also produced hail to the size of 1.25-inch in diameter and localized wind damage.

The Newburg Police Department reported mostly penny-size hail with a few hail stones up the size of a half-dollar around 3:30 p.m. Around 7 p.m. one-inch hail was reported north and northeast of St. James.

According to Rolla Municipal Utilities General Manager Rodney Bourne, the storm caused outages for 810 customers around 5 p.m. The longest outages lasted 36 minutes, he said.

Outages were reported in the area of Fort Wyman Road and Walmart and to the south near JCPenney’s and Kmart and residential areas as well along Bridge School Road and Martin Springs Drive.

“We had lightning strike on a line that feeds two of our substations,” Bourne said. The two substations affected are along Fort Wyman Road and Bridge School Road.

“The crews did an excellent job,” Bourne said. “They went out there, looked at lines to make sure there was no additional damage.”

The outage near Fort Wyman Road likely caused the traffic signal at the Walmart entrance on U.S. Highway 63 in Rolla to not work properly, which led to an accident there shortly after 5 p.m.

According to a Rolla Police Department report, the accident involved a 2006 Toyota Sienna driven by Linda C. Hardwick, 53, of Rolla, and a 2006 Chrysler Sebring driven by Caresse Chick, 28, of Rolla.

The Toyota was traveling north on Highway 63 and the Chrysler was stopped, facing east at the entrance to Walmart. The storm disabled the traffic lights at the intersection and there was heavy rain.

The police stated the Chrysler did not observe the Toyota and attempted to travel east across Highway 63 when the Toyota collided with the Chrysler, causing moderate damage to both vehicles.

Chick sustained injuries that were apparently not serious and was transported by EMS for treatment. No other injuries were reported.

Intercounty Electric Cooperative, which services areas in parts of Phelps, Dent, Texas and other surrounding counties reported more than 1,800 outages in its service areas.

Carla Gorman, dispatcher for the co-op, said the first outages were reported around 5:30 p.m. and “everybody was back on by 3 a.m.” She said the outages were due to rain, lightning and high winds.