SIKESTON - Severe winds whipped through Southeast Missouri Tuesday afternoon leaving a trail of damage and debris. However, forecasters are predicting more bad weather may be on the way.
Several accidents were reported on Interstate 55 related to the storm.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that around 4:25 p.m. on Interstate 55, five miles north of Miner, a southbound semi driven by Roger D. Pritchett, 50, of Kennett was overturned by strong winds and came to rest in the median.
Pritchett was transported by ambulance to St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, where he was treated for minor injuries.
Another incident occurred around 4:15 p.m. on Interstate 55, three miles south of Hayti. The northbound tractor trailer driven by Bobby L. Jones, 51, of Greensboro, N.C., overturned due to the high winds.
Jones was transported by ambulance to Pemiscot County Memorial, where he was treated for minor injuries.
Keith Gentry, maintenance superintendent for Missouri Department of Transportation, said he saw three campers and four tractor-trailers sidelined by high winds.
"They'd come out from behind trees or a hill and that wind would catch them off guard and blow them over," he said.
At one time, traffic on northbound I-55 was detoured at exit 80 at Benton in Scott County while southbound I-55 was also detoured at exit 40 at Marston in New Madrid County.
Additional accidents were reported along I-55 near exit 67 at Miner to Interstate 57 that slowed traffic while the area was cleared.
Pea-sized hail and power outages were reported in Jackson and power went out to more than 1,600 homes in Cape Girardeau. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning at 4:13 p.m. after receiving reports of a funnel cloud near Gordonville.
In East Prairie, about three-quarters of the town remained without power as of press time this morning. According to a dispatcher at the police department, the southeast side of town had power restored just after midnight. As a result of the outages, school there was canceled today.
A trailer at Morley was demolished by the winds and power poles just south of Sikeson were broken during the storm.
Between 4 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, temperatures in Southeast Missouri dropped by 38 degrees, according to National Weather Service records. Meteorologists predicted winds gusting up to 70 mph until at least midnight Tuesday and forecast snow and ice Thursday.
''This is going to be a hard, vicious slap in the face from Mother Nature,'' Gino Izzi, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, Ill., said Tuesday night. ''The temperature drop we saw was really spectacular in a bad way.''
High winds associated with thunderstorms may have killed two people in Indiana, authorities said Tuesday. Snow forced the closure of schools and highways in many areas, and avalanche warnings were issued for some Western regions.
Information for this story was provided by the Associated Press, Southeast Missouri News Service and Standard Democrat staff.