A pair of tornadoes tore a path through Laclede County in Missouri on Wednesday, damaging local homes and businesses including Tracker Marine Group's boat manufacturing plant in Lebanon.
According to Larry Whiteley, Manager of Communications for Tracker Marine, the plant was hit by one of the tornadoes at approximately 12:45 a.m. Wednesday morning. "Part of the roof was torn off and that will be replaced,' says Whiteley. "Right now there's an in-depth assessment going on of the damage. However, we expect to be building boats early next week. The biggest problem is that we had geared up and had lots of boats ready to go and about 300 of those were damaged by the storm. They were outside.'
Despite the loss of boats, Whitely says there will be no delivery delays since the plant will be repaired in the coming days and operating once again shortly. No estimate on the value of the damage to the plant is being made available at this time.
"We had two confirmed F1 tornadoes in the western part of the County,' reports Gail Teter, Operations Specialist for the Laclede County Office of Emergency Management. "We had one of them come through the city of Lebanon that did some damage to residential areas and commercial businesses. There were five minor injuries in our area and the cleanup is well underway. Our county was placed under a tornado warning. We were real fortunate. We had a good 20 to 30 minute head start to sound the sirens.'
Teter says representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state of Missouri are arriving in Lebanon today to assess the damage.
Tracker Marine Group builds Tracker, Nitro, Sun Tracker, Tahoe and Mako brand boats.