Emergency officials miscalculated Wentzville tornado

The bottom line - there was no warning for the tornado that tore through Wentzville late Monday night.

ST. LOUIS - Gone in a flash.

It only took a couple of minutes for a tornado to do damage in Wentzville, before it vanished.

In a 5 On Your Side follow up, the National Weather Service admits, it miscalculated.

The bottom line, there was no warning for the tornado that tore through Wentzville late Monday night.

Now the agency, as well as emergency management officials are re-grouping on how to keep us better prepared for dangerous weather.

The twister that caused all kinds of damage seemed to carry with it that same noise so commonly described.

“It sounded like a freight train coming through,” recalled Sandy Orr, whose mobile home was turned upside down while she and her husband were sleeping in it.

But one sound nobody heard, “No tornado sirens were going off or nothing,” said Orr’s neighbor, James Freant.

The warning sirens remained silent late Monday night. St. Charles County Emergency Management is responsible for sounding them

“We did see a slight bit of rotation,” said St. Charles County Emergency Management Director Chris Hunt, “but as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared, so we elected not to activate the sirens.

The fast and low forming rotation took emergency officials by surprise.
It also caught the National Weather Service in Weldon Spring off guard, who did not issue a tornado warning which often prompts those in charge of sirens to sound them.

“It's very unfortunate that that occurred,” said National Weather Service Senior Meteorologist Fred Glass.

Glass says his team will deconstruct the event to find out what went wrong such as was the radar read correctly, was spotter information accurate, was communication at its best and even if fatigue played a role.

“We'll find out those things and we'll correct them in the future. Our goal is to have our performance be much better,” said Glass.

The National Weather Service says it will get together with emergency officials early next week to discuss what happened and how to do better next time.

Photos: Monday night storm damage

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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