FARMINGTON, Mo. — Derek Detring walked wearily along the road that cuts across his property, with a question: "I don't have to do an interview, do I?"
Detring's been clearing the scrap metal, timber, and broken tree limbs that are scattered all around the property, twisted by the force of a storm that brought at least one confirmed tornado to the region Sunday night.
Even if he has the energy for an interview, he doesn't have the time.
Family members drive up by the carload, each ready to contribute food or an extra set of hands.
"We farm together. We do hay together. Some of the equipment that's in his shed that's destroyed, it was in my shed a week ago," neighbor Kristi Herbst said after dropping off food.
Both Herbst and the Detrings talk about their stretch of Possom Hollow as a tight-knit farming community.
The storms blew straight through Detrings track of land, damaging homes and destroying his three barns. But Herbst's property -- just 200 yards away with a barn holding thirty horses -- was untouched.
"There are no words to describe it. I have just been so full of thankfulness that so far no living being -- animal or human -- has been injured. It's unbelievable," she said.
Up to 15 possible tornadoes were reported across Missouri and Illinois Sunday. In the St. Louis area, the hardest-hit areas were south of St. Louis in Farmington, Fredericktown, and St. Mary in Missouri, as well as Chester, Illinois. Two National Weather Service (NWS) survey crews were out Monday morning assessing the damage.
First responders say there is more damage close to the Detring family, but repair crews block the way as Ameren crews continue to reconnect power.
"When we first got started, we didn't realize what we were up against," Wolf Creek Fire Protection District Cheif Bart Mabry said.
Mabry says the calls started coming in around 8:30. Too much for his crew, they called in reinforcements only to find "roads were impassible, houses collapsed, a lot of work ahead of us."
As he stands at the front of the Detring driveway Monday, he remarks on the devastation.
"It's a lot worse than I knew of last night when we were in the middle of it. It was dark, and we were just cutting our way is through a jungle of trees," he said. "Coming out here today, it is quite impressive what has happened and how much of a straight line it really was, right across our fire district."
As the cleanup continues, Herbst says she believes early warnings saved lives.
"The warning systems were fabulous. They were amazing. They save lives," she said.