Storms cause damage, flash flooding in some parts of southern Missouri



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POMONA, Missouri — Parts of southern Missouri were cleaning up Friday after strong storms brought heavy rains, high winds and a tornado.

The storms began Thursday night and continued into Friday morning.

Pomona's assistant fire chief, Dennis Randall, told the West Plains Daily Quill (http://bit.ly/1NHhjMd ) that 17 homes, two shops, a church and a barn were damaged in Howell County. A shelter for domestic abuse victims, with 15 people inside, was also damaged.

The storm also damaged Whetstone Boys Ranch, a center for at-risk youths that sits in a rural area near Mountain View.

No injuries were reported, but a command post was established at the Pomona fire station to aid storm victims.

The National Weather Service reported that an EF-1 tornado touched down near Vanzant in Douglas County just after midnight, downing trees and damaging barns and outbuildings.

Several rural customers lost electricity in the storms.

"It's going to take some time to get all the power back on but we'll work on it until we get it finished," said Myles Smith, manager of Members Services at Howell-Oregon Electric.

Heavy rain caused several creeks to flood their banks. The flash flooding was concerning enough that the Missouri State Highway Patrol positioned a helicopter in West Plains on Friday in case a water rescue was necessary.

The Bell 407 chopper "is specially equipped to conduct short-haul rescues should residents become trapped in rising floodwaters," the patrol said, and pilots have completed training for water rescues.

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