Missouri State Champion Tree, Second Largest In State, Destroyed By Tornadoes (PHOTOS)
The destructive tornadoes last Friday damaged more than just homes in St. Louis and St. Charles counties.
Missouri Department of Conservation Destroyed champion tree at Columbia Bottom.
The Missouri Department of Conservation is now reporting that the storm caused the Missouri State Champion eastern cottonwood tree in St. Louis to topple over -- ruining the second largest tree on record in the state.
"It looked like it had been twisted off its base," says Colleen Scott, interpretive center supervisor at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, in a statement. "A four-to-five foot high portion of the trunk is still standing, but the rest was snapped off."
Check out more photos of the damage below.
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The conservation department notes that the storm, which featured nine tornadoes locally, damaged hundreds of homes, leaving some destroyed, and left nearly 100,000 residents without power. But it also "robbed the St. Louis area of a state record."
The award-winning tree apparently fell victim to the extremely strong winds on Friday night at the conservation area in Spanish Lake, which is located off of Riverview Drive about three miles north of I-270.
That area was flooded when the swelling of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers topped its levees on Sunday, the department says, leaving only the visitors' center dry.
Of the champion tree, the department says:
The tree had a circumference of 310 inches, height of 127 feet, and 103 foot spread. It was designated State Championship eastern cottonwood in May of 2012. The Columbia Bottom giant was also second largest of any tree on record in the state of Missouri. The largest Missouri tree currently recorded is a slightly larger baldcypress in the Bootheel, with a circumference of 320 inches, height of 128 feet and a 73 foot spread.
With this tree down, the state championship now passes on to an eastern cottonwood located on private property in Platte County.
A tree is awarded the "Missouri Champion" title based on a point-value formula that considers height, crown spread and trunk size.
Continue for more photos of tornado damage and the full announcement from the conservation department about the champion tree.