Seventh dies of injuries from New Year's Eve tornadoes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Shaken residents spent New Year's Day sifting through the wreckage wrought by tornadoes that touched down in several states on the last day of 2010, killing seven people and injuring dozens of others.

Six people — three in Missouri and three in Arkansas — died Friday as tornadoes fueled by unusually warm air pummeled the South and the Midwest. A seventh person who was injured Friday near the Missouri town of Rolla died Saturday, said Bruce Southard, the chief of the Rolla Rural Fire Department.

The woman, identified by the Phelps County Emergency Management as 74-year-old Ethel Price, was entertaining a friend, Alice Cox, 69, of Belle, Mo., in her trailer when the twister hit.

The cost of the storms wasn't immediately known, but it was expected to be steep.

In Missouri, state officials received initial reports from nine counties that as many as 280 homes and other structures sustained damage and that at least 50 of them were destroyed.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said 39 homes and 40 businesses were destroyed or seriously damaged by the storms.

Emergency management officials in Arkansas said 14 homes and one business in Washington County sustained damage, while in Benton County, 13 homes and five businesses sustained damage.

Missouri's governor, Jay Nixon, began the new year meeting with emergency workers, cleanup crews and residents in the heavily damaged St. Louis County town of Sunset Hills before heading to Rolla.

"It is destruction unlike anything I've seen," said Nixon spokesman Sam Murphey, who was part of the tour. "It's incredible."

Nixon and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe declared states of emergency that could make it easier to eventually obtain federal funding to help with the cleanup effort.

In the northwestern Arkansas hamlet of Cincinnati, volunteers from as far away as Ohio came to help after a twister packing winds up to 140 mph claimed three lives. Washington County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Richard Green said residents in the town of about 100 people were "doing as good as can be expected. This outpouring out of the community is helping a bunch."

Seventh dies of injuries from New Year's Eve tornadoes 01/01/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:52pm]

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