In the early morning of June 4, as area residents slept, a micro burst swept through Prairie Home, taking the roof from the school, windows from the church, many trees and a few roofs and fences on a three mile stretch. Fortunately, there have been no injuries reported due to the storm.
Prairie Home is a small community located in Cooper County. The school, located at 301 Highway Drive, enrolled 81 elementary students and 92 students in seventh-12th grades during the 2013-14 year.
Superintendent Steven Barnes could not be found in his office Wednesday morning, however when you looked down a long dark hallway you could find him at the very end sweeping water out the back door of the school. Barnes shared, "I got a call around 4:45 a.m. to inform me of the situation. The micro burst took the entire roof off the elementary. We have very extensive damage on this end of the complex. Fortunately, the new wing has no damage." Barnes went on to share the community and Prairie Home staff were pouring in to assist with clean up, to move items before they were damaged and to get the building under roof before more rains fall.
Crews were focusing on the school. They were removing debris, limbs and insulation in order to begin efforts of covering the elementary. Everything is being done manually due to no power.
Men were cleaning up glass at the Prairie Home United Methodist Church yard. They felt fortunate to only have a ripple in the siding and a couple windows blown out. The stain glass windows were all in tact. They commented they only lived a couple blocks away and never heard a thing. "It was very shocking to get in my truck this morning and head to town to find this," shared one Prairie Home resident.
While in Prairie Home many residents questioned what exactly is a micro burst. I turned to meteorologist friends for knowledge.
A micro burst is an out rush of wind, in a fan out pattern, that can be as strong or stronger than some tornadoes. The size of the event is typically less than four kilometers across. Micro bursts are capable of producing winds of more than 100 mph causing significant damage. The life span of a micro burst is around five-15 minutes.
Residents may not have known before June 4 what a micro burst was, but now they have lived through one and are cleaning up from the effects of the storm. When leaving, I noticed the church sign read "Hate what is evil: Cling to what is Good." I think this small town will be clinging and pulling together to care for one another and make life good again.