Special Report: Branson Bounces Back from Tornado

Branson looks good and is ready and welcoming vacationers. There is no shortage of places to stay, activities to do and things to see.

The Hughes Family has got IT! The show is running on their regular schedule. No tornado damage was reported.

A tornado  struck the “Live Music Show Capital of the World” in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Feb. 29.

The EF2 tornado with winds of 120 to 130 mph, was 400 yards wide and was on the ground for about 20 miles, according to the National Weather Service.

SIX performs at the Mickey Gilley Theatre, next door is Gilley's restaurant,

Even though the March 29th tornado traveled down Highway 76, the damage was concentrated to a few dozen structures.  There were no fatalities. Most businesses were able to reopen very quickly after the storm.  The majority of Branson businesses were open at least by the first weekend after the tornado.

“Although our hearts go out to those who are still rebuilding after the Feb. 29th tornado, the majority of the theatres, hotels, restaurants and attractions in Branson are open for business, and ready to serve you in 2012, and beyond.” said Garrett Anderson, Director of Economic Development for the City of Branson, Missouri.

What did Branson learn from this disaster?

Minor tornado damage allowed Bass Pro to quickly recover and open for business.

“I think that the entire Branson community has learned the value of friendship and the importance of preparation. We were able to weather this storm without any loss of life; partially due to the early warning that was given by our emergency personnel. The warning systems were in place, and the alarm was sounded early.”

This is not just the physical storm sirens, but also the NOAA Weather Alert radios, and the local and regional press, who did a fantastic job of getting the word out early, that the storm was coming.

Branson was also prepared in the sense that they had their partnerships in place and response teams trained to work together, from various jurisdictions, including counties, cities, ambulance districts, and hospitals.

“The actual search and rescue period for this storm was accomplished by sunrise on the morning of the 29th, because everyone knew their part, and acted well in it,” said Anderson.

Branson Bounces Back Again

“One hundred years ago, the City of Branson was founded along the banks of the White River, in 1912.  Just a few months later, almost the entire downtown burned to the ground in a fire.  We are resilient, hearty folks here in the Ozarks, and will continue to rebuild from this disaster as well.  It will be a great year to come to Branson and celebrate our Centennial.” Anderson said, “We were encouraged by the support that came in immediately from around the country, and even from around the world, wanting to know if we were OK.”

We’ve been telling them that the best way to support Branson is to not cancel the trip they had planned this summer, or to plan an extra trip this fall.  We are grateful for all those who have come this year, and who continue to come and support our community.

The majority of the theatres, hotels, restaurants and attractions in Branson are open for business, and looking forward to your visit.

What’s New in 2012? Branson Centennial
Branson Celebrates 100 Years of Heritage, Hospitality and Harmony

Show, Attraction, Lodging Updates

Branson weather report

Call the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau toll-free at 800-296-0463.

While in Branson, stop by the official Welcome Center at 269 State Highway 248 for free, personal assistance. The Welcome Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center is open extended hours during peak seasons. Call 417-334-4136 to obtain these times.

Special thanks to  Hughes Brothers –  See the “it” Show.

SIX – You won’t Believe what comes out of their mouths.

Bass Pro – Bass Pro Shops White River Outpost 

All photos By Jeffrey Hobson



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