Structural cracks keeping people from taking shelter in Sedalia

SEDALIA, Mo. - A sump pump is doing all it can to drain water out of a Sedalia storm shelter. But it's having a hard time keeping up because water starts leaking inside every time it rains.

"It kind of looks like a little waterfall coming in here with all the water running down the walls," said Dave Clippert, emergency management director for Sedalia and Pettis County.

Cracks have developed along the perimeter of two storm shelters that are less than two years old. Clippert said sealing the cracks didn't help.

"In the interest of safety and not having people standing in water, the decision was made to close those," Clippert said.

Sedalia residents could certainly use all the shelter they can get.

The city was last hit by a tornado in May 2011. Twisters also hit in the 1970s, 1980s and in 2006. That's when Pettis County partnered with FEMA to build nine shelters throughout the county.

The shelters are all designed to withstand an EF5 tornado, but Clippert said the cracks could put structural integrity in jeopardy.

Clippert said the county may have to spend $30,000 to fix the shelters. Engineers are currently evaluating the best method to repair the structures.

Sedalia still has one operating FEMA-approved shelter at Smith-Cotton Junior High.

Print this article Back to Top