The EF-2 tornado that hit Goodman also hit parts of Neosho, the most significant being Opal Foods.
“For us in Newton County, Opal Foods took the biggest hit,” said Charla Geller, Newton County Emergency Management director.
Opal Foods lost three poultry houses with 600,000 chickens housed in those buildings, she said. The estimated price to rebuild is $2.4 million with another $4 million to replace all the chickens.
“There was also another poultry farm near Granby that lost the roof on two buildings,” said Geller.
In addition to poultry farms, roughly 40 homes were damaged with either minor or major damages in Newton County, and Crowder College also suffered some roof damage.
“At the airport, we had an airplane tip over and there was a little damage on some of the old hangars at the airport,” said Geller.
When the tornado sirens sounded, Geller already had weather spotters in designated areas watching for possible funnels and cloud circulation.
“I sent two people out to Goodman and I also sent someone out near Granby to be looking and reporting. My guys at Goodman got some really good footage of the tornado,” said Geller.
After the tornado hit, Newton County sent its Mobile Operation Center to McDonald County for Gregg Sweeten to use as a mobile command post to coordinate volunteers, organizations, and have meetings.
“The mobile operation center was there from Tuesday night through Saturday, and there were several fire crews, police departments, highway patrol, and sheriff’s deputies out there responding and offering assistance,” said Geller.
In Newton County alone, there were 28 damaged roofs reported and tarping crews started going around to tarp them on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
“We had an organization come and do that but most of the assistance needed was in McDonald County,” said Geller.
According to Geller, the sirens were sounded a little late for the type of warning they like to give citizens, but that just increases the reasons why everyone should have a weather alert radio.
“The sirens are not to be used as a warning to everyone, they are meant to be a warning to those outside of their homes. We strongly encourage people to have multiple avenues for hearing and obtaining weather information,” said Geller.
Geller also said her office will help program the weather radio for anyone who doesn’t know how to do it themselves.
“You never know what’s going to happen and that is why we strongly suggest that everyone has a weather radio to keep themselves as updated as possible, and we can help you program your radio to hear exactly what you want,” said Geller.