May 23rd, 2011
08:00 PM ET

116 killed by Missouri tornado, tying it for deadliest on record

Joplin, Missouri (CNN) - The toll in the tornado that ripped through Joplin soared to 116 on Monday, a city official said, tying it for the single deadliest twister to ever hit American soil since the National Weather Service began keeping records 61 years ago.

City Manager Mark Rohr told reporters that people from more than 40 agencies are on the ground in the southwest Missouri city, braving relentless rain and devastating wreckage looking for survivors. They found seven people alive Monday, he said, though the number of fatalities rose to a level unmatched since a tornado struck Flint, Michigan, on June 8, 1953.

"We're going to cover every foot of this town," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said from the National Guard Armory in Joplin. "We are ... optimistic that there are still lives to be saved. But (first responders) have seen a tremendous amount of pain already."

The Sunday-evening tornado chewed through a densely populated area of the city, causing hundreds of injuries as it tore apart homes and businesses, ripped into a high school and caused severe damage to one of the two hospitals in the city. Based on preliminary estimates, the twister ranked as an EF4 with winds between 190 and 198 mph, National Weather Service director Jack Hayes said.

"Everybody's going to know people who are dead," said CNN iReporter Zach Tusinger, who said his aunt and uncle died in the tornado. "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."

The nightmare may not be over for Joplin or other parts of the United States, with the weather service warning about more potential disaster on Tuesday.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Weather
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Maggie

    These disasters are coming from CHEMTRAILS (planes dumping aluminum and barium) all over our skies. Our radar systems then heat it. This is geoengineering modification. These storms are man-made which makes me furious when I see the devastation. HAARP plays a part. PLEASE look into this and look up in your own skies. Do the clouds look real? Do some of these tornadoes look real?

    May 24, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  2. Y.M.Enrico

    Anderson, great video of the tornado in Joplin. It would have been even better if the "Breaking News" ticker at the bottom of the screen was not blocking a fair bit of the screen. In fact this is one of my pet peeves, that the screen is blocked. Do the people in charge ever watch the news to actually see how people see it or should I say not see it?????

    May 23, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
  3. R Pendell

    This is a horrible event, but doesn't come close in number of fatalities to the Tri-state twister of 1925, which killed 695.

    May 23, 2011 at 9:44 pm |