A severe thunderstorm moved through the Neosho area early Friday morning, bringing strong winds, heavy rain and pea-sized hail to the region.

A severe thunderstorm moved through the Neosho area early Friday morning, bringing strong winds, heavy rain and pea-sized hail to the region.

Thousands of homes in the Neosho area were without power this morning as the storm moved through Southwest Missouri and the surrounding area.

Gary Roark, Newton County’s Emergency Management director, said the roof of a mobile home at NN and Iris Road was blown off.

This morning’s storm came almost a year to the day a tornado roared through that area, killing 14 people in Newton County.

“Mostly, what we saw in the county was there were a lot of tree limbs down on power lines,” said Roark. “In Diamond, there were a couple of businesses that lost a portion of their roofs.”

Roark said Joplin television station KSNF was without power this morning due to high winds, and a church collapsed in New Albany, Kan.

“Other than that, there were a lot of power outages in our county, a lot of trees down,” he said. “There were no reports of any injuries or major damage to structures, although reports are still coming in.”

Neosho Police Chief Dave McCracken said, “We’ve had some trees down, some limbs down, blocking roadways,” he said. “There has been flooding in the usual low spots. There is wind damage all over town, with lots of small limbs down in the streets. We’ve had a couple of trees and very large limbs down, blocking roads.”

Between 2,000 and 3,000 homes in Neosho were without power Friday morning, the Empire District Electric Company reported on its outage map, located on the company’s Web site. Company spokeswoman Amy Bass said 60,000 of the company’s 215,000 customers were without power this morning.

Bass said those experiencing outages should report them at 800-206-2300.

New-Mac Electric Cooperative reported that 750 customers were without power because of the storm, while between 30 and 40 utility poles were damaged or destroyed.

“The majority of these outages should be back on by dark,” said Mark Rakes, company spokesman. “The worst of the storm was in Spurgeon, Spring City, Reeds and Sarcoxie. We had less than 10 outages in McDonald County.”

Rakes warned people to stay away from downed power lines, as they may still be energized and not to try to clear tree limbs entangled in power lines.

Bass of Empire District offered the following safety tips:

- Stay away from power lines. They are bare wires and not insulated. Downed power lines may appear to be harmless, but could be energized and dangerous.

- If a person or object is in contact with a power line, don’t touch the person, object, or line. The electric current could flow through you. Call 911 and Empire District Electric Company immediately.

- If your vehicle is in contact with a power line, stay inside the car. Warn others not to touch the car or the power line.

- If you must leave your vehicle, jump clear to avoid being in contact with the car and the ground at the same time.

Generator safety tips

- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper usage of a portable generator.

- Operate the generator outdoors to avoid deadly fumes accumulating in the house.

- When using a portable generator, plug appliances directly into the generator.

- Never connect a portable generator to your home’s main electrical panel; it can back feed into electric lines and endanger line workers and others.

Neosho Daily News