Wally Kennedy: Several businesses on Range Line damaged by Monday storm

May 10—Talk about stormy weather. There were dangerous late-night storms on Monday that produced tornadoes in Joplin and Carthage. There were daytime tornadoes Wednesday that strafed Newton County with high winds, heavy rain, lightning and hail. Sirens were being sounded everywhere.

What a week.

And they did some damage. Hermann Lumber Co., located at the southeast corner of 12th Street and South Range Line Road, took a direct hit from an EF1 tornado Monday night. People who live in the residential area east of the lumberyard woke to significant and widespread damage. They got hammered.

More than just Hermann Lumber was affected by the storm that hit Range Line. The new apartments under construction just north of Hermann were damaged. Signs were blown out at Plato's Closet, O'Reilly's and other storefronts. Some roof panels at Zips Car Wash were blown off.

What was interesting about the Monday night tornado is that the sirens were not sounded in Joplin. It may not have been observed on the weather radar operated by the National Weather Service at Springfield. The radar is affected by the curvature of the Earth. Although some improvements were made after the 2011 tornado that struck Joplin, they cannot see what is happening on the ground in Joplin from Springfield. They can see what is happening above Joplin, but not close to the ground.

It was reassuring on Wednesday to watch our local news station meteorologists track the storms that affected our area. They did a good job of monitoring what was happening as it happened. But they too were limited by the radar, and at times they noted during their broadcasts that the radar does not always show what is happening close to the ground. So, beware.

As we progress through our stormiest month of the year, it's good to remember that. Every thunderstorm can pack a punch, regardless of the radar, so plan accordingly.

Another one bites the dust

Rue21, a teen fashion retailer with a storefront in Northpark Mall, is closing.

A store employee told me the store could close in four weeks or so, but that no definite date has been announced by the company. Store merchandise is being marked down. Most everything was 30% off this week. The employee said that will increase to 90% by the end of the liquidation. The store will be selling its fixtures.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 2, announcing that it would close all of its 543 stores in the U.S.

In court documents, the company said it had "recently suffered operational losses stemming from, among other things, underperforming retail locations, the continued growth of online shopping and industry competition, inflation and macroeconomic headwinds, and difficulties raising capital in an amount sufficient to meet their liquidity needs and fund operations."

The liquidation was attracting some deal hunters when I visited the storefront, located in the mall's north wing, on Tuesday.

Corvettes galore

Joplin will become "Corvette City" next week when the 65th annual convention of the National Council of Corvette Clubs, hosted by Visit Joplin and Landers Chevrolet of Joplin, kicks off Monday.

It's likely you will see every representation of this classic American sports car made famous in the 1960s television show "Route 66." Organizers are expecting almost 200 cars for the convention.

It's a big deal because the conventions are usually held in much larger cities, like Denver, Indianapolis or Atlantic City. Last year, it was held in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where Corvettes are assembled. Joplin is by far the smallest community to host this convention.

The convention includes a Main Street car show during Third Thursday next week. As many Corvettes as possible will be on display between Sixth and Seventh streets on Main. The show is taking place on part of the original stretch of Route 66 through downtown Joplin.

Bring your lawn chairs to watch The Road Crew, a Route 66 band, perform from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on a stage at Sixth and Main. Fun for children will include the valve cover races starting at 5:30 p.m.

The Corvettes clubs, invited to Joplin by the local club, 4 State Vettes, will be on the road when they get here, visiting Mo-Kan Dragway for some races and Crowder College at Neosho for an autocross. There also will be road trips involving 10-13 vehicles on Route 66 east to Carthage and west to Baxter Springs, Kansas.

Corvette club members from across the country will converge in Joplin for this event.

"Right now, we have 277 people registered for the convention," said Jeff Bruggeman, who helped bring the convention to Joplin with 4 State Vettes. "We have 88 members, and 65 of them will be working this event. The clubs that have registered are coming from all over."

The convention concludes May 19.

Contact Wally Kennedy at wkennedy@joplinglobe.com.