Storm Season 2012 Beginning in Missouri with a Vengeance

by on January 14th, 2011
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Branson is a small town nestled in southern Missouri that makes its living on tourism. A very wide variety of entertainment can be found in this pretty little town, including everything from comedy, country music, and even acrobatics. Poised to begin the busiest time of year in a couple short weeks, Branson will be pushing a few opening nights back a bit.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 29, an EF-2 tornado touched down in Branson, damaging homes and several of the town’s most popular theaters. The tornado was part of a severe line that killed people across three states.

When the tornado hit, it took a back and forth pattern down Branson’s main road. Included in the damage were the Andy Williams Moon River Theater, Branson Variety Theater, and Legends Theater, as well as a small mall.

One hotel, J.R.’s Motor Inn, only had six guests at the time of the tornado. Everyone took cover in their bathtubs, thankfully escaping injury. The second floor was totally destroyed.

Hotel giant Hilton has a 530-room property in downtown Branson. It sustained major damage including large sections of windows being blown out. All guests were reported safe there, as well.

Only about 40 people were hurt in the madness, and no one killed. Had this have happened a few weeks later, that story would have been different. Starting in mid-March, about 60,000 people stay in hotels in Branson per day.

Residents Quick to Respond

Only a little over 100 miles from Joplin, Mo., Branson knows what could happen if you don’t act fast in this situation. Joplin was hit by an EF-5 tornado — the strongest there is — on May 22 of last year. Many residents of Branson went to help out in the recovery efforts, seeing the damage that can be done and the lives that can be lost if you don’t respond quickly to tornado sirens.

First thing Wednesday morning, a Facebook page was created titled Branson, MO Recovery. This page gives the public a way to communicate needs, whereabouts, and other pertinent information. It also has multiple updates regarding when hotels and entertainment venues will be resuming business.

If you would like to find out how to help those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Missouri, please go here.

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