A Pevely woman was killed Monday evening (Aug. 10) when a tree uprooted by high winds fell on her, authorities reported.
Tina McCutchen, 51, was pronounced dead at the scene by Joachim-Plattin Ambulance personnel, Pevely Police Capt. Larry Miller said.
He said Pevely Police got a call at about 6:10 p.m. about the accident at her home in the 1000 block of Sunridge Trail.
“The victim and her boyfriend were trying to move a Jeep cover sitting in their yard. They were afraid of a tree falling on it. While they were trying to move it, a tree fell and landed in the middle of her back,” Miller said. “It was the wind that tore the tree right out of the ground, roots and all.”
The high winds that knocked down the tree were part of a rare storm classified as a derecho that swept through the Midwest on Monday night.
While thousands of Jefferson County residents were left without power following the storm, no significant property damage was reported in the area, said Warren Robinson, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management.
“In terms of raw structural damage, we have not received a lot of reports” Robinson said today (Aug. 11). “If municipalities did have damage, they were not significant enough to reach out us about those, which generally, I take as a good sign.
“Our crews are driving the county roads today, and we might find something else or we might not.”
The National Weather Service classifies a derecho as a widespread, long-lived storm associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.
The weather service’s website says a derecho can produce destruction similar to a tornado, and the damage typically is focused in one direction along a relatively straight swath. A storm is typically classified as a derecho when the damage from the wind extends more than 240 miles and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph, the weather service said.
Robinson said he can only remember one other derecho hitting Missouri.
In May 2009, a derecho made its way through the southern part of the state, as well as through parts of Kansas, Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas, according to National Weather Service records.
“It is not an annual event, but when it happens, you can get some severe damage out of it,” Robinson said.
Ameren reported that nearly 22,000 of the 102,389 customers in Jefferson County were without power following the storm. As of 11 a.m. today, 5,792 of them still were without service.