Severe Weather Turns Deadly in Region 8

November 28, 2005 – Posted at 5:12 p.m. CST

RIPLEY COUNTY, MO -- Severe weather ripped through Region 8 Sunday night... leaving wind damage, heavy rains and in one Southeast Missouri community, a deadly path.

An F-2 tornado touched down three miles outside of Gatewood, Missouri around 10 o'clock Sunday night. The National Weather Service in Paducah , Kentucky reports the tornado traveled on the ground for seven miles, with wind speeds estimated at 140 miles per hour.

"I went downstairs and got ready to go to bed. I sat there and was smoking a cigarette, and I looked up and my window disappeared, and then I grabbed my dog, it was blowing off the side of the bed. Then the whole house came in on us," said storm survivor Richard Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick and his roommate, 62-year-old Jim Palmer had just gone to bed when the F-2 tornado ripped through their home in western Ripley County. Kirkpatrick says they knew bad weather was coming, but had no warning of the tornado that hit.

"We turned it over to the radio to see what the weather was like, and all it said was severe rain," said Kirkpatrick softly, "Jim went upstairs to read a book. And at ten o'clock, the house just like exploded. They found Jim right over there."

Palmer was thrown from his bedroom on the second story and died.

Kirkpatrick said he didn't have much time to think about how to react.

"I thought I was going to die. That's all I could think of. But now I look at it and I had an angel sitting on my shoulder or something," said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick says his friends and family will help him rebuild his life and his home, but he says his next house will certainly have a storm cellar.

Funeral arraignments have been tentatively made for Jim Palmer. A service is to be held Wednesday at 1:00 in Neelyville.