From the Daily Beast 5/23/11
Updated at 4:40 p.m.] A total of 116 people are confirmed dead as a result of Sunday’s tornado in Joplin,Missouri, city manager Mark Rohr told reporters Monday. That means the death toll from the Joplin twister is tied for second most in U.S. history, since the National Weather Service begin keeping such records in 1950.
[Updated at 1:39 p.m.] Rescuers have pulled five families from beneath the rubble in Joplin, Missouri, where a tornado devastated up to 30% of the city, according to Gov. Jay Nixon.
“We still believe there are folks alive under the rubble and we are working hard to save them,” Nixon said Monday afternoon, nearly 19 hours after the tornado struck.
[Updated at 12:02 p.m.] St. John’s Regional Medical Center was hit directly by the Joplin, Missouri, tornado and suffered significant damage, according to a statement from Lynn Britton, president of Sisters of Mercy Health System, which operates the hospital. One facade of the building made of glass was blown out, and authorities evacuated the medical center.
The hospital was treating 183 people when the storm struck, Britton said. It was unclear if any were injured in the storm. The patients were taken to hospitals as far away as Springfield, Missouri, and northwest Arkansas.
Structural engineers were on their way to Joplin to assess the building, where 1,700 people work, Britton said.
[Updated at 11:50 a.m.] CNN producer Eric Marrapodi was in Joplin, Missouri, when another wave of severe storms came through Monday morning.
“As lightning pops and thunder booms, you can see the locals flinch. It’s likely too close for comfort after they lost 89 neighbors to a half-mile wide twister,” Marrapodi writes.
“I was walking down Main Street. Everything was so razed over it was disorienting because some of the streets you couldn’t even tell where you were at. After living in Joplin all my life, it was like living in the ‘Twilight Zone.’“
Zach Tusinger, 26, an attorney in Joplin, lost his aunt and uncle in the tornado. They lived five blocks from St. John’s Hospital.
“Everybody’s going to know people who are dead,” he says. “You could have probably dropped a nuclear bomb on the town and I don’t think it would have done near as much damage as it did.”
[Updated at 9:52 a.m.] Rev. C.J. Campbell was at home when what he described as an “evil monster vortex” hit his home at 5:55 p.m. CT. “Within 60 seconds” his house crumbled around him, he told CNN. “We thought we were going to be sucked up the chimney.”
[Updated at 9:01 a.m.] President Barack Obama has ordered Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate and an incident management team to Joplin, Missouri, to coordinate federal disaster relief assistance efforts.
The request comes in the wake of a powerful tornado that devastated the city Sunday night, White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro said Monday.
Shapiro said Obama also called Gov. Jay Nixon to “personally extend his condolences and to tell all of the families of Joplin affected by the severe tornadoes that they are in his thoughts and prayers.”
[Updated at 8:47 a.m.] Waves of strong thunderstorms are in the forecast for southwest Missouri into Wednesday, the National Weather Service reports.