A tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri yesterday, killing residents and leaving a path of widespread destruction. The death toll stands at 89 people as of this morning.
City Manager Mark Rohr said the deadly twister cut like a knife through the town of 50,000. It left a six-mile-long and half-mile-wide area of devastation that cut the city in half.
What’s worse is that tornado sirens gave residents only about a 20-minute warning before the tornado touched down.
CNN reports that rescuers searched door-to-door for the injured but were slowed by downed power lines, jagged debris and gas-fed fires throughout the city. In total, at least 2,000 buildings were damaged. The local hospital took a direct hit from the twister and scores of medical records and X-rays were found up to 60 miles away. The storm also hit a Home Depot store, several smaller businesses, restaurants and a grocery store.
The aftermath of the destruction was startling to the residents:
“You see pictures of World War II, the devastation and all that with the bombing. That’s really what it looked like,” said Joplin High School Principal Kerry Sachetta. “I just couldn’t believe what I saw.”
The storm system that caused the tornado also stirred up twisters throughout the Midwest that touched down across the states, from Oklahoma to Wisconsin. So far, one person was reported killed in Minnesota. Just a few weeks ago, series of deadly storms killed over 300 people in the south.
Experts with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said today’s weather conditions may cause more strong storms.
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