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Tornado Death Toll in Joplin Reaches 116

Posted by feww on May 23, 2011

Death Toll Expected to Rise: Officials

Mega tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri, killing at least 116, injuring 500 and destroying more than 2,000 homes

More Deadly Weather May Follow

Summary of details:

  • The deadly storm struck Joplin at 17:30 local time (22:30 UTC) on Sunday May 22, 2010.
  • The tornado has killed at least 116 people.
  • Sunday tornado was the deadliest single tornado in 64 years.
  •  Officials expect to find more bodies.
  • Some 2,000 buildings have been destroyed.
  • Many businesses, schools, churches and other buildings as well as hundreds of vehicles have also been destroyed.
  • About 500 people have been injured.
  • The tornado that struck Joplin left an estimated path of destruction about 6 miles (10km) long and 3/4 mile (1 km) wide.
  • The death and destruction in Joplin far surpasses the devastation caused by the tornado that struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama in April.
  • There’re reports of the deadly tornado packing wind speeds of about 200 miles an hour.
  • FIRE-EARTH believes the tornado would have  registered at least EF4 (winds of 166 TO 200 MPH) on the Enhanced Fujita Tornado Scale   (see bottom of the page).
  • In just 10 minutes the deadly tornado destroyed between 30 and 75 percent of the city, according to different reports.
  • St. John’s Regional Medical Center, the main local hospital, took a direct hit, which resulted in “extensive damage,” a hospital spokesman said. “The roof is gone. A lot of the windows are blown out.”
  • Debris from the hospital, including X-rays, were found as far as 110 miles away.
  • “Also destroyed were the hospital, the emergency services office, two fire houses, a nursing home, the Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Sonic, and Academy Sports and Outdoors stores. The water treatment plant and the sewage treatment plant were also heavily damaged. Mail delivery for the southern part of the city has been suspended for today.” SPC said.

US Weather Hazard Map

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Weather Forecast Map

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Strong to severe thunderstorms are expected across the central plains this afternoon and this evening as a strong storm system approaches. Thunderstorm initiation will likely occur late this afternoon approximately along a line stretching from Wichita, KS to Oklahoma City, OK, develop into a squall line and track eastward, reaching the Kansas/Missouri border by early this evening. These thunderstorms will impact the outlook area this evening and into the early overnight hours. Main severe threats with these storms will be damaging straight line winds, large hail, and isolated tornadoes. The Storm Prediction Center has the entire outlook area in a Slight Risk convective outlook for today and tonight. However, a High Risk convective outlook has been issued across southern and southeastern Kansas as well as north central and northeast Oklahoma. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue through the day on Wednesday as this system tracks eastward over the area. However, the threat for severe weather is low. With the continued rounds of showers and thunderstorms impacting the region, there additionally is the threat for localized flash flooding and local streams and rivers to be on the rise due to the likelihood of heavy rainfall. (SOURCE: NWS)

Many of the ingredients for a severe weather outbreak appear to be coming together this afternoon and tonight. By the late afternoon, a dryline from western Oklahoma into South Central Kansas is expected to initiate severe thunderstorms. Additionally a warm front across the northern half of Kansas could focus more thunderstorm development. These storms will be capable of producing tornadoes, some potentially large, along with very large hail and damaging winds. The system will move north and east this evening but will still affect much of central and eastern Kansas into the overnight hours. Stay tuned to the weather and have a plan should severe thunderstorms affect you. (SOURCE: NWS) 

A frontal boundary will remain stalled over northern Missouri and central Illinois through Wednesday night as a wound up area of low pressure to our west slowly approaches. This front will serve as a focus for several rounds of thunderstorms as well as maintaining the moist air over much of the bi-state region. While some thunderstorms are possible later today, thunderstorm chances will increase heading into tonight and Wednesday as the center of the main storm system approaches. Any thunderstorms that do form could become severe, but the greatest chance for severe weather will be Wednesday afternoon and evening where a widespread outbreak of severe thunderstorms is expected. In addition to severe weather, locally heavy rainfall may cause rises on area streams, creeks, and rivers. (SOURCE: NWS)

GOES Eastern US SECTOR Infrared Image

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Convective Outlook Day 1 (map with population centers)

The SPC is forecasting  severe thunderstorms expected over parts of the mid Mississippi Valley into the central great lakes region this afternoon and evening. Read the latest public statement.

Probability of a tornado within 25 miles of a point. Hatched Area: 10% or greater probability of EF2 – EF5 tornadoes within 25 miles of a point. (More Info)

National Weather Service said:

Another multi-state severe weather outbreak dropped 68 tornadoes on the central Plains, the Midwest and the western Great Lakes over the weekend, killing at least 90 people, according to NOAA Forecasters. To make matters worse, some of the same areas hit over the weekend could see repeated severe weather through Wednesday.
SPC logged more than 1,074 reports of tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds over the weekend.
  • Saturday: 22 tornado reports (including)
    •  Kansas: 14
    • Oklahoma: 5
    • Missouri: 1
  • Sunday:  55 tornado reports (including)
    • Missouri: 13
    • Minnesota: 13
    • Wisconsin: 13
    • Iowa: 5
    • Oklahoma: 3
    • North Dakota: 1

The Enhanced Fujita Tornado Scale – Quick Chart

EF0: 65 TO 85 MPH
EF1: 86 TO 110 MPH
EF2: 111 TO 135 MPH
EF3: 136 TO 165 MPH
EF4: 166 TO 200 MPH
EF5: Wind speeds greater than 200 MPH

Related Links

2011 Disasters

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