Tornado Path - Pierce City to Battlefield, MO
Sunday May 4th, 2003
F-scale: F3 at Pierce City, and From Northwest of Aurora to Battlefield
Path Length: ~45 miles Width: 1/4 to 1/2 mile Time: 645 - 800 p.m.
This statement will focus on the Newton, Lawrence, Christian and southern Greene county track.
This nearly unbroken tornado track was about 45 miles long from extreme eastern Newton County east of Ritchey west of Pierce City to just northeast of Battlefield in Greene county. Several populated communities like Monett, Verona, Aurora and Marionville were spared the destructive power of this tornado because it moved just to the north of those towns.
Numerous reports of funnel clouds were reported by National Weather Service trained spotters and Chaser as the supercell moved east across McDonald and Newton Counties before the tornado touched down about three miles east of Ritchey and west of Pierce City.
At this point the tornado was rated as an F-0 topping trees and breaking limbs. Once the tornado reached just west of Pierce City it strengthened to an F-2 then F-3 rated tornado (158-206 mph) and moved quickly across the center part of town causing substantial and major damage to just about all buildings, brick and wood framed homes, and other structures. The tornado width was from one quarter mile to 600 yards wide but the debris path was over a mile wide.
Once the tornado moved east of Pierce City it was then rated an F-2 until it reached just north of Aurora and increased to an F-3. It continued the F-3 rating across the rest of its path until it lifted northeast of Battlefield. Along this path, the tornado width ranged from 200 yards to nearly one half mile wide. However, the debris path ranged from one quarter mile to one mile.
Along this path there were hundreds of large trees uprooted and snapped off, many power poles were snapped at their base that caused numerous power outages, especially in Monett. Also, numerous brick and wood framed homes, trailers, outbuilding, barns and other structures were severely damaged, completely destroyed or sustained minor damage.
Just southwest of Springfield in the community of Battlefield, many residential homes, the fire department, a church, and several small businesses were damaged. In several areas along the tornado path, some trees were stripped of all bark.
Along this very destructive path the following confirmed deaths were reported: Pierce City 1, three miles north of Monett 2, north of Marionville 2, one mile north of Clever 1, and Battlefield 1. There were numerous injuries.
For images of the tornado and the damage it caused, click here