Perry County and the southeast Missouri town of Perryville are cleaning up after a tornado tore through Tuesday night.
Perry County Clerk Jared Kutz confirmed one person was killed. He also said several homes near Perryville were badly damaged when the storm struck around 8:30 p.m.
As of 10 p.m., both directions of I-55 have been closed in Perry County as emergency and road crews work to remove debris and vehicles damaged by the storm.
In a statement, Gov. Eric Greitens said strike teams and resources have already been deployed to the area.
The American Red Cross opened a shelter to assist displaced residents. It is located at Perry Park Center, 800 City Park Lane, Perryville, MO 63775.
Here is the complete statement from Gov. Greitens:
“Tough and tragic news tonight out of Perryville where there are confirmed reports of a tornado touching down. Our thoughts and prayers are with the community and those affected. State Emergency Management was monitoring severe weather in the region and was prepared to respond to any situation. We have already deployed strike teams and resources, and this community should know that the full weight and support of the state of Missouri is behind you.
I would urge continued caution throughout the night. There is a tornado watch in effect until 4 a.m. for the following counties: Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Ripley, Scott, Stoddard, and Wayne. If you or a loved one live in these counties, please be alert, vigilant, and safe tonight.
We will continue to work with public safety officials throughout the night, and we will update everyone as additional information comes in. Please keep the people affected by this storm in your prayers tonight.”