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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 

May 23 - Death toll from Joplin tornado climbs to 116

Article: Signs Of The Last Times
 

Rescue crews dug through piles of splintered houses and crushed cars Monday in a search for victims of a half-mile-wide tornado that killed at least 116 people when it blasted much of this Missouri town off the map and slammed straight into its hospital.

It was the nation's deadliest single tornado in nearly 60 years and the second major tornado disaster in less than a month.

Authorities feared the toll could rise as the full scope of the destruction comes into view: House after house reduced to slabs, cars crushed like soda cans, shaken residents roaming streets in search of missing family members. And the danger was by no means over. Fires from gas leaks burned across town, and more violent weather loomed, including the threat of hail, high winds and even more tornadoes.

"I've never seen such devastation just block upon block upon block of homes just completely gone," said former state legislator Gary Burton who showed up to help at a volunteer center at Missouri Southern State University.

It was the nation's deadliest single twister since a June 1953 tornado in Flint, Mich. Unlike the multiple storms that killed more than 300 people last month across the South, Joplin was smashed by just one exceptionally powerful twister.

National Weather Service Director Jack Hayes said the storm was given a preliminary label as an EF4 the second-highest rating given to twisters. The rating is assigned to storms based on the damage they cause. Hayes said the storm had winds of 190 to 198 mph. At times, it was three-quarters of a mile wide.

Last month, a ferocious pack of twisters roared across six Southern states, killing more than 300 people, more than two-thirds of them in Alabama.

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