Stormy weather in the Missouri Ozarks. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons via Adventuregirlkat)

The Springfield area has been hit by several tornadoes over the years.  The following summaries come from coverage in the Springfield News-Leader spanning 39 years of history. They involve tornadoes in Springfield or in Greene County. This list is part of a Daily Citizen series on tornado safety.

January 8, 2008

An EF1 tornado damaged a warehouse near downtown Springfield at the Harry Cooper Supply Co., at 605 N. Sherman Parkway. 

The twister moved east from Harry Cooper and knocked down a nearly three-story-tall Krispy Kreme sign at Glenstone Avenue and the Chestnut Expressway.

The bigger picture that day was that severe storms carved up much of southwest Missouri, killing two and demolishing homes along a line from McDonald County northeast past Rolla.

Rachel Lawson, 85, was killed in her home near Strafford and Nancy Green, 53, was killed in her mobile home in Webster County, near Marshfield.

In areas near Springfield, Republic and Strafford, 32 homes suffered major damage. 

May 4, 2003

Tornadoes and storms ripped through three states — Missouri, Kansas and Tennessee — killing 37 people.  

Hardest hit in Missouri were Pierce City, where the National Guard armory (containing people sheltering) collapsed, and in Stockton and Carl Junction.

A tornado passed through Greene County at EF3 strength in Battlefield, where a fire station was hit and 400 to 500 homes were damaged.

Stephanie Allton, 40, was killed when hit by a falling tree after she had stopped to  lay on the ground while trying to make it to a storm cellar outside her house, near Battlefield.

Ila Ruth Little, 63, was huddled in a hallway in her rustic Clever farmhouse when a twister slammed into the house and killed her.

The National Weather Service also reported a tornado touched down in south Springfield.

October 10, 2001  

An  EF1 tornado hit near the campus of Southwest Missouri State University, now MSU.  The winds peeled off the roof of Bear’s Mall at National Avenue and Grand Street. The tornado hit so quickly that emergency officials did not have time to turn on the sirens. 

Two people were slightly injured while in their vehicles at the intersection.

November 29, 1991 (day after Thanksgiving)

On an unseasonably warm day when the temperature reached 65 degrees, a tornado started north of Nixa and was at EF4 strength when it hit southeast Springfield, where it killed two people and turned houses into rubble.

One of the two killed was Charles L. Beaty, 54, a driver from Dallas whose truck was caught in high winds at the interchange of Highway 65 and U.S. 60.  The vehicle was sent skidding, upside down, along the roadway. 

The other fatality was Paul Maranto, a well-known Springfield tennis instructor, who died when his house at 3550 Cara Lane, in the Woodbridge Estates subdivision, was destroyed. 

Maranto was instrumental in developing Springfield Park Board tennis programs for disabled players. 

The initial touchdown was at 6:05 p.m., three miles north of Nixa. It then hit the southeast fringe of Springfield at 6:20 p.m., striking the Natural Bridge, Woodbridge and Woodbridge Estates subdivisions.

Fifty-three houses were leveled and another 160 damaged. Total property damage was estimated at $25 million.  Sixty-four people were injured.

May 20, 1990

An EF2 tornado destroyed 19 homes in Rogersville — 18 of them in the Oak Hill Trailer Park, about a mile east of Rogersville on U.S. 60. 

Nine people were injured, including  3-year-old Ronnie Wilson,  who was found in the rubble of a trailer home blown more than 150 feet from where it had stood.  The boy suffered two broken arms and two broken legs and was placed in a body cast.

The tornado was part of widespread thunderstorms that pummeled Missouri from Joplin to Eminence. 

April 29, 1983

An EF3 tornado cut across south-central Springfield, killing two and injuring 22. It damaged 355 homes and 30 small businesses. 

The tornado came from the west at around 9:30 p.m. and traveled east along either side of Battlefield Road. 

Officials said the area hardest hit was from Fort Avenue and Battlefield Road 

northeast to Glenstone Avenue.  

Its trail was about 30 blocks long and four or five blocks wide. It caused an estimated $25 million in damage; 19 people were injured.

One fatality was Carl Spencer, 68,  who had a heart attack after running to the home of a neighbor.

The other death involved the heartbreaking story of two 16-year-old teenage friends — Melissa “Missy” Daniels and Jennifer Williams — who both worked at McDonald’s on West Sunshine Street. They were members of the Parkview High School Flag Corps drill team.

They worked that night and, as a joke, they switched nametags.

Newscasts reported that a 16-year-old girl had died in a tornado-related car crash on Battlefield, four blocks west of Campbell Avenue.

One of the two girls was taken to the hospital and the other was found dead near the car that Williams had been driving. 

Both girls were wearing their McDonald’s uniforms.  

Based on the nametag, Williams’ father — in the darkness, rain and mud — initially misidentified the dead girl as his daughter. 

It was not; it was Melissa Daniels.

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Springfield Daily Citizen. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin