News / USA

Tornado Leaves 116 Dead in Missouri

Possibly deadliest single tornado in US in nearly 60 years reduces much of Joplin, Missouri to rubble

Damaged vehicles litter the parking lot of St. John's Hospital in Joplin, Missouri, after a tornado hit the Missouri city on Sunday, May 22, 2011
Damaged vehicles litter the parking lot of St. John's Hospital in Joplin, Missouri, after a tornado hit the Missouri city on Sunday, May 22, 2011

Authorities in the midwestern U.S. state of Missouri now say at least 116 people are dead after a powerful tornado ripped through the city of Joplin, reducing much of the area to rubble.

Weather officials say the twister may have been the deadliest single tornado in the United States in nearly 60 years. The powerful weather system that spawned it struck the Joplin area Sunday evening, crushing cars in its path, uprooting trees and ripping apart homes and businesses.

Sirens gave city residents a 24-minute warning to seek safety before the twister touched down. The tornado also damaged a hospital, which was evacuated, and left a helicopter crushed on its side in the hospital parking lot.

Tornadoes at a Glance

Formation: Rotating thunderstorms or supercells cause the most destructive and deadly tornadoes.

Many supercells never produce a tornado. They can produce damaging hail, extreme winds, frequent lightning, flash floods and can last for many hours.

Duration: Tornadoes can last from several seconds to more than an hour. Most last less than 10 minutes.

Damage: The new, Enhanced F-scale is becoming the standard for assessing tornado damage.

Even with engineering guidelines, tornado wind speeds are based on calculations.

Frequency: About 1,300 tornadoes strike the U.S. each year.

The true average is not known due to recording mistakes, erroneous classification or under reporting.

Path: Most tornadoes move from southwest to northeast, or west to east. Some change direction or even backtrack.

Prediction: One or two days in advance, forecasters look for temperature and wind flow patterns which can cause enough moisture, instability, lift and wind shear for tornadic thunderstorms.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Search crews in Joplin labored Monday to find tornado victims, but their effort was made more difficult by a thunderstorm and driving rain in the area.  Officials estimate the tornado damage covers at least 25 percent of Joplin, a city of about 50,000 people.  Its wind speed was reported at 265 kilometers per hour.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Monday went to the areas hit by the storm to survey the damage and meet with emergency personnel.  A statement issued by his office says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended disaster assistance to individuals and families in the counties that bore the brunt of the storm.

U.S. President Barack Obama called the governor to express condolences and pledge federal government support for recovery efforts.

Separately, another tornado in the northern state of Minnesota killed one person and injured nearly 30 others. The strong line of storms swept across states stretching from Wisconsin to Oklahoma.

Last month, tornadoes and violent thunderstorms killed more than 300 people across the southern United States. Alabama bore the brunt of the fatalities, with more than 200 dead.

In the southern state of Louisiana, the U.S. Coast Guard has reopened a stretch of the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge after the section was closed when three barges sank amid high water and fast currents.  Officials are allowing the barges to move north through that section of the river.  

Earlier this month, U.S. Army engineers opened a spillway north of Baton Rouge in an effort to save that city and New Orleans from the flood waters of the Mississippi.  The flooding was caused by snow melt and heavy rains in northern states, and it was carried south by the Mississippi and its tributaries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid