Kyle Troutman: A case of some Mondays

The last two Mondays have been unique ones for the Troutman family, marked by worries about weather one week and enjoyment of a celestial event the next.

On April 1, we were set to return home from a weekend in Florida visiting my eldest sister, who just had her first baby, miss Scarlett Ever Parker.

In spite of the stresses of travel and a Vacasa rental that was less than ideal (two showers and neither worked properly), we had an incredible time with my sister, brother-in-law and their month-old bundle of beauty.

The only concern we had about the trip stemmed from home, as we began on Saturday receiving calls from other family saying we better keep an eye on the weather on Monday.

At that time, our flight was expected to land at about 7 p.m. at the Fayetteville airport, which on Saturday was predicted to be in a major line of storms — possibly producing tornadoes and hail — at that time.

Anyone who has lived in southwest Missouri long knows spring severe weather forecasts are hardly reliable, especially in Cassville, so I held on to hope that the storms would change track and keep our flight on time and our drive home clear of any of the predicted nastiness.

As the flight time got closer and closer, the storm line became delayed and moved further north, ensuring we would avoid everything we had been warned about all weekend long.

Home by about 9 p.m., we saw the line weaken significantly by the time it passed through Cassville in the early morning hours, producing mostly heavy rain. I don’t know whether it was the amount the storms weakened or the exhaustion from the trip, but all three of my girls slept right through the whole thing.

In the days leading up to the storm, a question continually popped up on social media regarding preparation — where are the storm shelters in Barry County?

Though severe weather tends to track away from Cassville in my experience here, being prepared is key in case it doesn’t.

Cassville has two storm shelters, both on the Cassville school district campus. The FEMA Event Center across from Wildcat Stadium and the FEMA building at Cassville High School both unlock automatically when storm sirens are activated.

Purdy also has a FEMA shelter at the school district that doubles as a performing arts center, and the Wheaton school district has a newly opened FEMA structure on its campus. Both of those also unlock when the sirens sound.

If you find yourself more north, Monett has four total shelters. Monett elementary, middle and high schools each have a storm shelter, the latter also doubling as a performing arts center, and there is also a city-owned shelter at 603 County Road (Marshall Hill).

Unfortunately, the southern end of the county is without a FEMA-approved structure, which is unfortunate considering how many major storms tend to hit the Seligman-Eagle Rock-Shell Knob areas.

Shelters in Washburn or Seligman and Eagle Rock or Shell Knob would be a great benefit to residents there if funding could be determined. Perhaps that could be a future goal for the Southwest and Shell Knob No. 78 school boards.

Thankful to have avoided any danger on that Monday, we enjoyed a much more exciting event this Monday — the solar eclipse. it’s the second such event to occur in Cassville in the last seven years, and the next total solar eclipse in our area will not occur until Aug. 12, 2045. That path of totality will put Cassville in the 98-99 percent range, and residents here will be able to drive less than an hour to be in the full path.

We considered driving to the path of totality this year, but doing so would sacrifice any local photos I could take for the paper. We met in the middle, keeping our girls out of school and daycare to be able to share the experience with them.

As we reached the 97.6% max coverage in town, my wife held glasses on our 2-1/2-year-old so she could see. I highly doubt she will have any memory of the event, but when her eyes met the little crescent of the sun remaining, she exclaimed, “The moon!”

As that was happening, our 8-year-old was wearing her glasses and watching, turning her head from side to side as if she could make the angle change and will the eclipse to totality.

The rarity of these events make them exciting, and I was happy to be able to share it with my kids and then dart over to Wildcat Stadium to get photos of intermediate and middle school students enjoying the sight together.

Yet, with the anxiety and excitement of the last two Mondays, I’m looking forward to less of such. Sunshine and 70 degrees for a few weeks sound pretty good to me.

Kyle Troutman has served as the editor of the Cassville Democrat since 2014 and became Publisher in 2023. He was named William E. James/Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist for daily newspapers in 2017, and he won a Golden Dozen Award from ISWINE in 2022. He may be reached at 417-847-2610 or ktroutman@cassville-