Massive Deadly Tornado Strikes Joplin, Missouri (5/22/2011)


Earlier this evening, Joplin, Missouri took a direct hit from a massive close to a mile wide tornado. Communications are affected. Hospitals are destroyed. People are trapped as search and rescue operations are ongoing.

Updated information: NWS surveys from the Springfield NWS office are starting to come in. Joplin, MO tornado rated a preliminary EF4 with estimated winds at least 190 mph. Not out of question this could go to an EF5 in later updates as information is preliminary

As of Tuesday, May 24th, this tornado has been rated an EF-5 with 200 mph winds.

Courtesy of the Weather Channel, here is a picture of the radar on the left and the velocity on the right. You can see a debris ball in this picture very well.

Picture courtesy of the Weather Channel. Debris ball signature on radar and base velocity as well

Here is the latest. A tornado roared through the city of Joplin late Sunday afternoon, causing major structural damage along and just north of Interstate 44. Joplin High School has been severely damaged. The graduation was today, but, thankfully it was held at Missouri Southern.

Starting at around 20th and Rangeline a tornado destroyed countless buildings throughout the area. At the 15th and Rangeline Walmar,t ambulances lined the street as emergency rescue officials across the four-state area have responded to rescue hundreds of residents trapped inside the building.Reports of hundreds of people are trapped inside. Range Line was closed at 15th Street, and widespread damage could be seen along the city’s most densely built commercial strip, as well.

St. John’s Hospital was very hit hard by the tornado. One resident who lives nearly 45-miles away from the hospital says his yard is now full of debris from the hospital– medical supplies and x-rays. Debris from other parts of town have been reported in Springfield, Mo., over 70 miles away. Also, witnesses remember seeing a 300-pound plus man being sucked through a window. Just has been a very devastating tornado.

Officials say the hospital is severely damaged. Chunks of the building were taken out and windows were blown out. Eastbound and westbound I-44 is closed at mile marker 18 near Joplin due to overturned tractor trailers during severe weather.

Ryan Nicholls with the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management has now confirmed there are 24 fatalities in the wake of a tornado touching down in Joplin. The number of injuries is still unknown.

Damage, as you can tell, was widespread across the city’s south side. John Campbell, operations director for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, confirmed fatalities have been reported, unfortunately. Phone communications in and out of the city were largely cut off.

Mike Bettes with “The Great Tornado Hunt” and the Weather Channel credits being saved from the tornado due to him and his team being caught in massive hail. nHe reports massive amounts of damage with a large loss of life. Also, the hospitals in Joplin that were hard hit are not accepting any patients with Fremont Hospital accepting only life-threatening injuries only. They encourage the less injuried to go to numerous triage centers in town.

Anyone with more information in regards with this tornado, please send it my way. I do know a few people through Twitter near Joplin, so please send prayers their way. A nursing home is even asking for help with supplies and equipment that was in the path of this tornado.

As of 5:30 AM CDT Monday, May 23rd, 89 people confirmed dead, many more missing.

As of 3:15 PM CDT Monday, May 23rd, the death toll has jumped to 116 people, making this tornado the deadliest tornado since the Woodward, Oklahoma tornado of April 9, 1947 that would go on to kill 181 people.

As of 9:00 pm CDT Tuesday, May 24th, the death toll is up to 122 people.

As of noon CDT Sunday, May 29th, the death toll has risen to 139 people.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Storm reports from the Joplin area:
05/22/2011 0602 PM: 2 miles E of Joplin, Jasper County. Tornado, reported by public. Between mile marker 10 and 12. Trees stiped of bark. Over 20 semitrucks and cars flipped off I-44. All Interstate signs gone and damage.

05/22/2011 0546 PM: 2 miles SE of Joplin, Jasper County. Tornado, reported by public. 22nd and Blackcat Rd neighbohood massive damage being reported to houses and trees with people trapped in debris.

05/22/2011 0546 PM: 1 miles S of Joplin, Jasper County. Tornado, reported by public. Multivortex tornado reported near 13th and Rangeline Rd. Reports of damage to numerous trees and houses.

05/22/2011 0546 PM: Joplin, Jasper County. Thunderstorm wind gust m60 mph, reported by public. 7th and Florida Street.

05/22/2011 0541 PM: Joplin, Jasper County. Tornado, reported by public. Numerous reports of tornado on the ground west of Joplin and power flashes

05/22/2011 0538 PM: Webb City, Jasper County. Hail m1.00 inch, reported by public.

05/22/2011 0534 PM: Joplin, Jasper County. Hail m1.00 inch, reported by public.

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