BUFFALO, Mo. (AP) -- Severe weather packing high winds and at least one tornado swept across southern Missouri early Wednesday, killing three people and causing large damage to Branson's entertainment strip.
The deaths were reported in the areas of Cassville and Buffalo in southwest Missouri and about 280 miles to the east near the town of Leora, in far southeast Missouri. The victims' identities have not been released.
In Branson, an apparent tornado moved across the city's entertainment strip, damaging hotels and music theaters. There were no reported fatalities but more than 30 people were injured.
Dale Moreland, director of emergency management for Stoddard County in southeast Missouri, said one man was killed when a mobile home near Leora was hit by the storm about 4:30 a.m.
"A man and a woman were in the mobile home, and it was lifted off the foundation and rolled about 200 feet," Moreland said. A woman in the home was hospitalized. He said 13 to 15 other homes were damaged in the area where the apparent tornado cut a path estimated at about 9 miles long and a half-mile wide.
"It's just a mess. There are several farm buildings down, power lines are down everywhere. There are trees across the road," he said.
A tornado also killed one person and injured about a dozen other people earlier Wednesday in an area around a mobile home park south of Buffalo in Dallas County, said Jason Wendlandt, director of Dallas County Emergency Management.
"The mobile home park is completely devastated,' he said. "There are some homes that are completely flattened with pieces thrown everywhere," Wendlandt said as he surveyed the damage with a team from the National Weather Service. He said the NWS confirmed the damage was from a tornado.
"Three homes were down there at one end of the mobile home park, and we are unable to determine where one started and one stopped," he said.
At least half of the homes in the area were destroyed, and at least 13 people sought medical care.
Utility crews were also working to restore power to the town of about 3,000 and area schools are closed.
Barry County Sheriff Mike Epperly said one person died after being thrown from a mobile home north of Cassville. He said several homes in the area were also damaged or destroyed and that a semi tractor trailer overturned on Missouri Highway 37.