Branson Recovery Continues
Here's an update on recovery efforts in Branson, Mo., from the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau:
Recovery efforts continue following the touchdown of an EF-2 tornado (winds up to 135 mph) in Branson, Mo., in the early morning hours of Feb. 29. Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported, although a significant number of minor injuries and property damage were reported.
“We feel very blessed that there was no loss of life due to the tornado that struck Branson, and our thoughts and prayers go out to those families who did lose loved ones as a result of this large storm system that affected much of the Midwest,” said Branson Chamber President and CEO Ross Summers.
The majority of the storm damage is in sections of W 76 Country Boulevard west of Gretna Road/Hwy 165 and the Branson Convention Center area. Recovery and rebuilding efforts are underway and will continue, with many of the affected businesses reopening or scheduled to reopen in the coming days. W 76 Country Boulevard (also known as the world famous “Branson Strip”) has been reopened to traffic, and visitors are traveling to and from attractions, shows and restaurants unencumbered. Visitors are able to get to and from shows playing currently, with more shows opening as scheduled for the 2012 season next week.
Although much of the damage caused by the tornado was localized to the downtown section of The Strip, numerous residents throughout Stone and Taney Counties were also affected. Damage assessments to private homes are still underway. Power has been restored to the majority of the affected area, and utility crews continue to service areas that are still without power.
Branson Landing has made significant progress in recovery, and the majority of retailers and restaurants will be open for business today. The Branson Airport was unaffected by the storms, and flights are departing and arriving with no delays. Major attractions such as Silver Dollar City, Sight and Sound Theatre, and Showboat Branson Belle (while closed during the first quarter of the year), sustained no damage; TITANIC Museum Attraction, Hughes Brothers Theatre, RFD-TV The Theatre, IMAX Entertainment Complex, Tanger Outlet Mall, and numerous other theatres, attractions, restaurants and retail stores are also undamaged, remain open and are welcoming visitors to the Live Music Show Capital of the World.
It appears that only six of the 50+ theatres in Branson sustained significant damage as a result of the storms. A list of scheduled show opening dates will be posted on www.ExploreBranson.com. The vast majority of shows will open or have already opened on schedule for the 2012 season.
About 10 percent of the 200+ hotels in Branson sustained damage as a result of the storms, with varying degrees of severity. Estimated opening dates for those affected hotels will be posted on www.ExploreBranson.com. Branson has more than 18,000 lodging units, and can host up to 60,000 visitors a day. The storm damage has not substantially affected Branson’s lodging capacity, and the vast majority of accommodations are open for business as usual.
The resilience of the Ozark people, their faith and steadfast nature will shine through this unfortunate situation, and Branson will rebuild and recover quickly.
For up to date information, situation updates, road closures, show schedule changes, affected attractions, restaurants and shopping, consumers should visit www.ExploreBranson.com or call 800-296-0463.