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U.S. Army digs out from New Year’s Eve tornado

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 11:35am MDT
The housing areas of Fort Leonard Wood were devastated by a New Year's Eve tornado. View more images in the slideshow below.  (4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade)

The housing areas of Fort Leonard Wood were devastated by a New Year's Eve tornado. View more images in the slideshow below. (4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade)

An unusual New Year’s Eve tornado outbreak brought on twisters across Arkansas and Missouri causing widespread destruction.  Seven lives have been reported lost and one tornado struck Fort Leonard Wood, a U.S. Army base in northwestern Missouri.

Strong thunderstorms spawned the tornado outbreak that included 44 tornado reports although the actual number of twisters is likely much lower once duplicates are removed.  Three fatalities were recorded in Arkansas, four in Missouri.

Preliminary damage assessments from the National Weather Service indicate the two most significant tornadoes were EF-3 twisters packing winds as high as 150 mph. 

The Cincinnati, Arkansas twister started near the in Oklahoma near the town of Westville.  The tornado continued into Arkansas tearing a path 21 miles long and 500 yards at its widest. Click here for the damage assessment from the Tulsa, Oklahoma National Weather Service office.

In Missouri the weather service has begun analysis of four confirmed twisters rated EF0, EF1, EF2 and EF3.  The most powerful storm struck the Sunset Hills area southwest of St. Louis and at one point created a damage field 1/4 of a mile wide. Click here for the damage assessment from the St. Louis, Missouri National Weather Service office.

Slideshow: Fort Leonard Wood Army base devastated by New Year's Eve tornado

Slideshow: Fort Leonard Wood Army base devastated by New Year's Eve tornado

At the Army post in Pulaski County, images show extensive damage to structures at the base, many of which were part of the base housing and training areas.  Officials said that only four minor injuries were sustained at the base. 

View images of the destruction at Fort Leonard Wood in the slideshow to the right.  For more on this story, visit the Natural Disasters Examiner and these stories:

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