About 11:45 AM this morning, after hearing the sirens and watching the skies turn black, we hurried into the basement. We watched the rain turn from sprinkles to sideways in about 30 seconds. The trampoline very nearly took flight into the golf course when we heard and saw the 40' sweet gum tree slam to the ground. Everyone was fine, and no major damage to the house, but a total of three trees were lost. It was all over in less than a minute. Many of our neighbors had a lot more damage, but no one was hurt.
After walking the neighborhood, it appears that the tornado began near the top of Windsor Mill, and moved straight down the street, behind our house and out over the golf course. I heard that Fox Creek Subdivision (on the other side of Holloway) also had trees down.
With all of the coverage of the damage in Sunset Hills, I hadn't seen any pictures from Ballwin on the news sites. Here are some shots of our house and the neighbors' houses.
From NOAA's website, 1/3/2011
Ballwin (St. Louis County, MO) EF1 Tornado
National Weather Service Personnel conducted a damage survey in Ballwin, Missouri. The maximum damage for this tornado has been rated at EF1, with a path length of 1.4 miles and a maximum width of damage of 175 yards.
The initial tornado touchdown occurred just northwest of the intersection of Manchester Road and Birchwood Drive. The tornado traveled northeast, moved through the east side of the Ballwin Golf Course, crossed Holloway Road, and the lifted near the intersection of Sunfield Place and Greenmoor Drive, just west of Baxter Road.
Tree damage occurred along the entire path of the tornado. Structural damage also occurred, however it was more hit and miss and minor, generally limited to shingles, fascia, and soffiting. The tornado produced its greatest damage just before it entered the Ballwin Golf Course.
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This tree couldn't have fallen in a better place. It missed the sunroom, the trampoline, and the neighbor's fence.
The top half of the sweet gum in the foreground fell on top of the smaller, uprooted pine. There are two large trees on the opposite creek bank fallen onto the golf course.
The boys are surveying the damage.
Minor roof and soffit damage
Neighbor's house with blown down columns and roof damage.
View from the roof. Note the topped sweet gum, and the downed trees on the golf course.
More from the roof.
The worst of our roof damage.
Some of our neighbors fared much worse than us.
View Storm Damage 12/31/2010
in a larger map
I built this map from my own observations. I have collaboration enabled. If you wish to add points, please do, or email me at chuckspohr at gmail.com with your information.
Someone posted this video