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At least 5 dead after EF-2 tornado hits southeast Missouri

The Missouri State Highway Patrol confirmed at least five people died in the tornado.

BOLLINGER COUNTY, Mo. — A deadly tornado ripped through southeast Missouri early Wednesday morning leaving behind a path of destruction.

MSHP confirmed at least five people were killed and five others were injured in the tornado but did not give any other details on the victims. They also confirmed 87 properties were damaged, and 12 were completely destroyed.

A survey team with the National Weather Service found "high-end EF-2" damage in the Glenallen area. The tornado was estimated to have peak wind speeds of 130 mph. 

The NWS said the tornado began at 3:30 a.m. two miles southwest of Grassy, Missouri and ended at 3:57 a.m. three miles west of Millersville, Missouri. The EF-2 tornado traveled 22.3 miles through southeast Missouri, leaving damage behind. 

The survey team found several homes destroyed and trees damaged, hundreds snapped at the base.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon at Woodland High School, Missouri Governor Mike Parson said President Joe Biden called him saying federal help was on the way. The governor also said local agencies are preparing for months of recovery efforts.

5 On Your Side talked to several survivors in Glenallen Wednesday afternoon. Keith Lincoln and said he and his family took shelter in their bathtub when they heard the tornado coming.

“You could hear it beating, the trees were popping and all that. It sounded like a train when it went over the top of us," Lincoln said.

He's one of many in Glenallen who lost a lot.

“Then we come out and this is all I got now," he said.

Down the street, Bob Masters said he, his wife, and his children rushed to the basement early Wednesday morning.

“Never before, I’ve never lived through a tornado or even been close to a tornado," he said. “You don’t experience fear until you’re in a tornado and there’s nothing you can do.”

After the tornado took too much of the place they call home, and too many of its people, Masters he's holding onto what's left.

“We’re just blessed that we’re alive to clean up and fix up," he said.

Lincoln recognizes he's one of the lucky ones too, especially after he says he lost his neighbors.

“I lost some good neighbors down the road here so it’s pretty rough," he said. "But then, I had some friends up the road here and they also had some trees down, but they still came down to help me.”

On a day when everyone was suffering in Bollinger County, everyone was also helping.

“I had a bunch of my friends and neighbors come down and cleaned up the best we could, and I couldn’t believe it. I had so many there and then they brought us food, they helped us out so big," Lincoln said.

In a Facebook post Wednesday morning, the Herculaneum Fire Department said the Urban Search and Rescue team was assembling to head to southeast Missouri to assist in the aftermath of the tornado.

At around 8:30 a.m., MSHP shared a photo on Facebook that was taken west of Marble Hill showing the aftermath of the tornado. The photo showed homes destroyed and several downed trees. 

MSHP urged the public to avoid the area to give first responders room to work.

RELATED: St. Louis forecast: Strong storms Wednesday morning

Widespread thunderstorms moved through the St. Louis area overnight Tuesday and into the early morning hours Wednesday. Some of those storms were capable of producing large hail and damaging winds up to 70 mph.  

Severe thunderstorm watches and warnings have been issued for parts of the 5 On Your Side viewing area throughout the morning. 

For the latest updates on the weather conditions, click here.  

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