Show producer Jim Owen hugs Debbie Wilburn in front of the Branson Mall, among the entertainment venues on the Branson strip damaged by Tuesday's tornado.

Photo by Roger Nomer/The Joplin, Mo., Globe
CNHI News Service

The fortunate aspect of Tuesday night's tornado that struck the heart of Missouri’s entertainment industry was that it occurred during the off season.

Herald White, who oversees a hotel which happened to be closed, said the community has time to recover before the army of tourists return in late March and early April.

“A lot of people are closed right now," said White. "We should be thankful for that.”

Six of Branson’s 50 entertainment venues were damaged, including the Dick Clark American Grandstand Theater. About 15 of the more than 200 hotels were also damaged.

No one died or was seriously injured by the EF-2 tornado that struck this southwest Missouri town of 10,000 after dinner time.

Misouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who viewed the damage, estimated property losses in the "tens of millions of dollars." But he said Branson would be ready for the new tourism season.

“It will get back on its feet for the 11 million visitors who come here every year,” he said. “We’ll make sure this economic engine is working.”


Details for this story were provided by The Joplin (Mo.) Globe.

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