Video: Tornado witness: 'There are things that just don't belong'

  1. Transcript of: Tornado witness: 'There are things that just don't belong'

    WILLIAMS: And good evening from Joplin , Missouri .

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor (Joplin, Missouri): And this is, of course, now more than any community anywhere should ever be forced to endure. In just the space of the last hour, we have been through a hail storm , we've been through pouring, a deluge of rainfall, and now a shift in the wind direction. We're still in the grip of stormy weather here. And of course, what brings us here, 116 souls so far lost in this tornado . That's the death toll so far. Again, all the numbers here locally will likely change. Untold number of injured, and they're hoping for actual rescues. It makes this the single deadliest tornado since 1947 in the United States . We are talking about a storm which at its base was, give or take, about three-quarters a mile across. Reports of multiple funnels coming off the one anvil-shaped storm. It was on the ground, it looks like, for about a six-mile path while it was here, right through Joplin , Missouri . Winds at the core, at their height, estimated between 190 and 198 miles per hour . In lay terms, about as much energy as Mother Nature can focus on any one spot at any one time, and it happened in this community, Joplin , Missouri . Behind us St. John's Hospital , the regional medical center here. You may have already heard that X-rays and paperwork from this hospital was found upwards of 60 miles from here. That's because the debris cloud went up in the air 18,000 feet, the altitude where some commercial airliners fly. So it was carried at that altitude for several miles. We have a huge team on the ground here, and among those to arrive first for us NBC 's Al Roker , who's going to start off our coverage tonight. This is among the most concentrated energy anywhere on the planet.

    AL ROKER reporting: Brian , I've never seen anything like this, even including Tuscaloosa . We're talking about hearing sirens, the crack of thunder, the flash of lightning. It has been like this all day. It continues to get worse. The good news is there has been -- there have been some rays of sunshine in that seven people have been pulled from rubble today.

    WILLIAMS: That's right .

    ROKER: So that is good news. But for a long time they are going to be cleaning up. The work is really just getting to -- getting started.

    Unidentified Man: I got debris on the ground right here! I got debris on the ground!

    ROKER: The eye of the storm , Joplin , Missouri .

    Man: I have a large, destructive tornado . It's on the southwest side of Joplin .

    ROKER: A massive tornado three-quarters of a mile wide tore through Joplin , throwing debris 18,000 feet into the air.

    Man: It's tearing up the entire city.

    ROKER: City streets and neighborhoods stripped bare in minutes. Within moments, rescue workers raced to the scene. Some using canines trying to find those trapped in the rubble. The Weather Channel 's Mike Bettes was chasing the tornado when it hit ground. He was one of the first on the scene.

    MIKE BETTES reporting: Oh, I've never seen a scene like this before. We just rolled up and this tornado came through maybe 45 minutes ago. I've personally witnessed injuries and fatalities here, unfortunately, in Joplin . We're just going through the neighborhood here trying to figure out if anyone else needs help. There's -- people are just scrambling right now. I want you to kind of take a scope of the -- of the damage. It's just kind of taking my breath away here. Multiple homes, businesses destroyed. Cars that have been flipped and mangled debris everywhere you look. People are trying to just help people out any way they can.

    ROKER: One of the area's primary sources of emergency care, St. John's Regional Medical Center was also destroyed.

    Dr. RON SMALLING: I'm a intervention cardiologist.

    ROKER: Dr. Ron Smalling was on duty when the tornado hit.

    Dr. SMALLING: When we came out it looked like in a war zone. It looked like we'd been hit with a bombed. And so we rushed to the patients. Some of them were on ventilators, but they were all -- some of them were cut up with glass. All the windows in the 12-bed CCU were all blown out and the ceiling tiles were all down. So we began to mobilize and get the patients out of the rooms.

    ROKER: The raw emotion of the moment was difficult for everyone witnessing it.

    BETTES: It's tough, no question about that. Just tornado devastation as far as the eye can see . And off in the distance there, beyond the firefighters, they're doing search and rescue right now. We even have fires that are erupting in Joplin . It really is an unfolding scene, changes minute by minute. Neighbors are trying to pull -- oh, they just pulled out their dog right -- that is great. They just -- they just pulled a dog, he looks to be OK, out of the house there. That's great news.

    Mr. JOHN DEGRATH: There were bodies in the park last night.

    ROKER: John Degrath has lived in Joplin his whole life. Have you ever seen anything like this?

    Mr. DEGRATH: No, no, never, never. This is what I only -- I only see maybe on TV , this bad. But I mean, the trees, look, the bark is stripped from the trees. There are things that just don't belong in...

    ROKER: You're missing a neighbor.

    Mr. DEGRATH: Larry , my neighbor. He's 73. I don't know where he's at. I know he was home.

    ROKER: Overworked rescue workers and volunteers make it to Larry 's house. They searched the wreckage hoping to find him alive. As the search for Larry and other victims go on, survivors struggle to make sense of their losses.

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 5/23/2011 10:17:47 PM ET 2011-05-24T02:17:47

The death toll jumped to 116 on Monday after a massive tornado tore through this city on Sunday, leaving six miles of destruction: a forest of splintered tree trunks where neighborhoods once stood; a hospital and high school destroyed; and cars crushed like soda cans.

Emergency crews searched through the night and through a thunderstorm with driving rain on Monday for additional survivors.

"We still believe there are folks alive under the rubble, and we're trying hard to reach them," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told reporters in Joplin.

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Elsewhere across the country, at least 30 homes were damaged or destroyed in a storm that swept through Tennessee on Monday evening, Stewart County Emergency Management  Director Clint Mathis told WSMV-TV. The post office and fire station in the town of Big Rock were also destroyed, Mathis said. Some injuries were reported.

In Pennsylvania, a severe storm and possible tornado on Monday caused extensive damage to barns and homes in the Richfield and McAllisterville areas, CBS21 News reported. Search dogs were called in to help look for people unaccounted for.

In Joplin, the death toll had been at 90 on Monday morning, but by afternoon officials told reporters it had risen to 116 — making it America's deadliest single tornado in 64 years and the second major tornado disaster in a month.

By the evening, search and rescue workers had found 17 victims alive, but their task was made more miserable by a new thunderstorm Monday morning that pelted part of the city with quarter-sized hail.

Nixon told The Associated Press he did not want to guess how high the death toll would eventually climb. But he said: "Clearly, it's on its way up."

Seventeen people were pulled alive from the rubble. An unknown number of people were hurt.

Fire chief Mitch Randles estimated that 25 to 30 percent of the city was damaged, and said his own home was among the buildings destroyed as the twister swept through this city of about 50,000 people some 160 miles south of Kansas City.

"It cut the city in half," Randles said of the twister, which was three quarters of a mile wide at times and kicked debris 20,000 feet up into the sky.

Images, real-time updates from breakingnews.com

Nixon told MSNBC TV that some 2,000 structures saw "significant damage," and that searching for survivors remains a priority.

There's still a "significant potential for saving lives," Nixon said.

More than 1,150 people were treated at local hospitals, the Joplin Globe reported. An estimated 20,000 homes and businesses were without power.

A number of bodies were found along the city's "restaurant row," on the main commercial street, Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges said.

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"The loss of life is incredible," said Joplin Mayor Mike Woolston. "We're still trying to find people. The outlook is pretty bleak."

The city's residents were given about 20 minutes notice when 25 warning sirens sounded around 6 p.m. local time, said Jasper County Emergency Management Director Keith Stammers.

But the governor said many people likely were unable to get to shelter in time. "The bottom line was the storm was so loud you probably couldn't hear the sirens going off."

Staff at St. John's Regional Medical Center hustled patients into hallways before the storm struck the nine-story building, blowing out hundreds of windows and leaving the facility useless.

At least six people at the hospital were killed, including five patients and one visitor, officials said. Dr. Jim Riscoe said he arrived at the hospital soon after the tornado hit and said some colleagues who also were injured worked all night long.

On Monday, officers from the city and neighboring towns and counties manned virtually every major intersection. Ambulances came and went, sirens blaring. Rescuers involved in a door-to-door search moved gingerly around downed power lines and jagged debris.

Deadliest days

A series of gas leaks caused fires around the city overnight, and Nixon said some were still burning early Monday.

The twister was one of 68 reported across seven Midwest states over the weekend. One person was killed in Minneapolis, Minn. and another in Reading, Kan. But the devastation in Missouri was the worst of the day, eerily reminiscent of the tornadoes that killed more than 300 people across the South over several days last month.

Greg Carbin, a warning coordinator for the U.S. Storm Prediction Center, said that although both storms had high death tolls, the situation in Joplin was different.

"There were other tornadoes that touched down yesterday, but nothing to the extent of a month ago," he said. "It was not the same type of large-scale outbreak."

Video: Surveying the devastation

The National Weather Service later estimated the Joplin tornado had winds up to 198 mph, making it an EF4 — the second strongest category.

More severe storms are coming, Carbin said, with Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma expected see tornadoes Monday and Tuesday and the bad weather spreading to the East Coast by Friday.

As the toll currently stands, the Joplin tornado is the ninth deadliest on record. It tops the toll from a 1953 storm that killed 115 people in Flint, Mich.An 1899 tornado killed 117 people in Wisconsin.

Triage centers and shelters were set up around the city. At Memorial Hall, a downtown entertainment venue, nurses and other emergency workers from across the region treated critically injured patients.

At another makeshift unit at a Lowe's home improvement store, wooden planks served as beds. Outside, ambulances and fire trucks waited for calls. During one stretch after midnight Monday, emergency vehicles were scrambling nearly every two minutes.

Emergency management officials rushed heavy equipment to Joplin to help lift debris and clear the way for search and recovery operations. Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency, and President Barack Obama sent condolences to families of those who died.

Video: Storm chaser: ‘Overcome’ by aftermath

In the hospital parking lot, a helicopter lay crushed on its side, its rotors torn apart and windows smashed. Nearby, a pile of cars lay crumpled into a single mass of twisted metal.

"We are not sure of the safety of the building," the Springfield News-Leader quoted hospital spokeswoman Cora Scott as saying.

PhotoBlog: iPhone panoramic photograph of damage

Details about fatalities and injuries were difficult to obtain even for emergency management officials, because the tornado knocked out power, landline phones and some cell phone towers, said Greg Hickman, assistant emergency management director in Newton County.

Debris was carried up to 60 miles away, with medical records, X-rays, insulation and other items falling to the ground in Greene County, said Larry Woods, assistant director of the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos: Deadly storms rake Midwest

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  1. Patrick O'Banion salvages items from his devastated home in Joplin, Mo., on Monday, May 30. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Katlyn Wilkins, in tree, and Andrea Wilkins Morelli work on securing an American flag on May 29 in Joplin. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. President Barack Obama and residents view tornado damage on May 29 in Joplin. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at Missouri Southern University on May 29, during a memorial for victims of the Joplin tornado. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Joplin residents stand for a moment of silence during a memorial service on May 29, marking the one week anniversary of an EF-5 tornado which ripped a six mile long path of destruction through Joplin.. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Kenzie Buffalo, left, plays catch with a baseball on the roof of what used to be her grandfather's house with her friend Sarah Koepke in Joplin on May 28. (Larry W. Smith / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Matt Teel cleans off a Jesus statue after it was found in the ruins of St. Mary's Church in Joplin on May 28. As the town continues to recover from the treacherous storm over 150 people are still missing. Funerals are being planned. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Tracey Presslor comforts friends and classmates of her nephew Will Norton on May 28 in Joplin. Family members had said Norton and his father were on the road when the storm hit. The teen's Hummer H3 flipped several times, throwing him from the vehicle, likely through the sunroof. His body was found in a pond near the truck. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Stephen Dickson stands in front of his parent's home while on the lookout for looters at dusk in Joplin on May 27. Although the house has no roof, Dickson sometimes sleeps in the home to protect it from looting. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The remains of a destroyed tree in Joplin on May 27, five days after a massive tornado passed through the town. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Debris is seen near Joplin High School on May 27 in Joplin. (T. Rob Brown / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. During a driving rain storm, Tracy Rogers, center, and others look for items to salvage from a friend's destroyed home on May 27 in Joplin. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A vault is all that remains of the Commerce Bank in a devastated Joplin neighborhood on May 27. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Scott Anderson reaches for a piece of debris on May 27 near his heavily damaged home in Joplin. Anderson said, "It's like they dropped a bomb on us." The town continues the process of recovering from the storm which damaged or destroyed an estimated 8,000 structures. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A storm cloud passes over a communications tower following a thunderstorm on May 27 in Joplin. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A search and rescue team looks for victims at a devastated apartment complex in Joplin on May 26. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Flags are placed around what's left of Joplin High School on May 26. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Maggie Burlingane looks at what remains of her daughter's home on May 26 in Joplin. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Clothes hang untouched in a closet inside a destroyed house in Joplin. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Blanca Lopez holds her daughter Bianca as they wait to receive food, clothes and other donated items in Joplin on May 26. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Robert Elbert hands a photograph of Stephanie Elbert's mother and father to her after they found it among the remains of their house on May 26 in Joplin. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Darryl Strickland walks through what is left of his garage near Elgin, Ala., on May 26. It was blown 50 yards along US 72 by severe weather that raced across northwest Alabama. (Matt Mckean / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Severe storms blew across the Midwest on May 25, hitting places like this trailer park in Bloomington, Ind. A few minor injuries were reported. (Darron Cummings / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Scott Taylor checks on Sue Dillman shortly after a severe storm tore the roof off her home in Bloomington on May 25. Dillman's home and surrounding barns were heavily damaged. (Chris Howell / The Herald Times via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Ryan Millikan, center, lifts a container to Nick Wongratananajcha, left, as they help Lee Morris gather his possessions on May 25, three days after a killer tornado ravaged neighborhoods in Joplin. (Tannen Maury / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. An aerial image of Joplin, Mo., shot on May 24, shows the remains of Joplin High School two days after an EF5 tornado touched down and destroyed a large portion of the town. The image was collected by digital imaging aircraft owned by M.J. Harden, a GeoEye Company. Harden flew an emergency mission for Missouri state officials to provide insight on relief efforts and emergency response. (M.j. Harden / Geoeye / Handout / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Alisha Kelly, of Neosho, gives away food and bottled water to residents and emergency workers on May 25 in Joplin. "We are just individuals who want to help," Kelly said. The tornado that ripped through the town of about 50,000 people May 22 is being called the deadliest single tornado in the U.S. in 60 years. (Julie Denesha / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. A message is seen on the side of a building on May 25 in Joplin. A tornado tore through much of the city on Sunday, wiping out neighborhoods and killing more than 12o people. (Mark Humphrey / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Lori Haun removes the house letters from what remains of her devastated Joplin home on May 25. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. A recovery crew looks for bodies on May 25 in a destroyed church after a devastating tornado hit Joplin, Missouri. The death toll from a monster tornado that ravaged Joplin, rose to 125 on Wednesday after an overnight search turned up more bodies but no new survivors, authorities said. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Shirley Waits cries as she stands in what is left of her mother's home on May 25 in Joplin. (Jeff Roberson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Family and friends of a tornado victim clean-up and sort through debris on May 25 at a mobile home in Chickasha, Okla. (Sue Ogrocki / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. A house is left as a pile of rubble after being destroyed by a tornado west of El Reno, Okla. on May 24. (Chris Landsberger / The Oklahoman via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Rebecca Watts walks by a car stuck in a tree after a tornado hit north of El Reno, Okla. on May 24. The high-powered storms arrived Tuesday night and early Wednesday, just days after a massive tornado tore up the southwest Missouri city of Joplin. (Chris Landsberger / The Oklahoman via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Joplin High School sophomore Landan Taylor makes has way across the wreckage of the school's theater in Joplin, Mo., on May 24. At least 125 people were killed and hundreds more injured when a tornado cut a destructive path through Joplin on Sunday evening. Classes at all Joplin schools have been canceled for the rest of the schoolyear after four schools were damaged or destroyed. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. At the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota in Roseville on May 24, an avian nursery coordinator Jessika Madison helps feed some of the nine blue heron chicks that were orphaned by the tornado that hit Minneapolis on Sunday. The chicks have to be fed live minnows every 30-45 minutes while while they are awake. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Minneapolis Star Tribune via Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. An official searches for a missing child near the lake shore after a tornado ripped through the Falcon Lake area of Piedmont, Oklahoma, on May 24. Several tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma on Tuesday afternoon, the largest one striking El Reno, west of Oklahoma City, and continuing to the northeast, the National Weather Service said. (Bill Waugh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. A half-mile-wide tornado moves north towards Piedmont, Okla., on May 24. (Paul B. Southerland / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. The remains of the house owned by Scott and M'Lynn McCann that was destroyed by a tornado west of El Reno, Okla., are shown Tuesday. Authorities say a series of tornadoes rolled through Oklahoma City and its suburbs at rush hour on May 24. (Paul B. Southerland / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Neighbors pitch in to help recover items out of the home of Scott and M'Lynn McCann that was destroyed by a tornado west of El Reno, Okla., on May 24. (Chris Landsberger / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Armando Castillo retrieves personal items out of his truck that he was driving when it was swept off I-40 and destroyed by a tornado west of El Reno, Okla., on May 24. (Chris Landsberger / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Ken Haebaum stands in his mud-splattered kitchen after a tornado ripped through the Falcon Lake area of Piedmont, Okla., on May 24. Haebaum and his wife sought shelter from the tornado in the hallway behind the door on the right side of the photo. (Bill Waugh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Martha Gaines walks among the rubble of her home after a tornado ripped through the Falcon Lake area of Piedmont, Okla., on May 24. (Bill Waugh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Jeannie Owens searches through a family member's destroyed home in Joplin, Mo., on May 24. A devastating tornado hit the day before, leaving hundreds dead or injured. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. A rescue team searches for survivors in a store on May 24 in Joplin, Mo. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Paul Wright attempts to salvage items from a family member's home in Joplin, Mo. on May 24. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Jerry Parker looks through pictures recovered from his destroyed home in Joplin, Mo. on May 24. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Christal Comstock sits outside her family home, which was destroyed in Joplin, Mo. on May 24. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Kyle and Alicia Gordon of Joplin, Mo., embrace in what's left of their son's room on May 24 (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. The path of the powerful tornado that destroyed a 6-mile-long swath of Joplin, Mo. is seen May 24. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. Dina Meek and her daughter Maddie, 9, salvage what they can from her sister-in-law's home on May 24. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. Ernie Darby removes a table from a debris site in Joplin, Mo., on May 24. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. Members of the Missouri Task Force One search-and-rescue team work at the Home Depot store in Joplin on May 24. (Jeff Roberson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Mangled cars are inside a destroyed Joplin apartment complex on May 24. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Volunteers look for survivors in the rubble of a home in Joplin, Mo., on May 24. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Water spurts from a broken water line in a destroyed Joplin home on May 24 as Lindsay Grundy, left, and Dana Moritz search for their grandmother's belongings. (Tannen Maury / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. David Turner removes a file cabinet on May 24 from the destroyed home of his sister in Joplin. (Tannen Maury / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. The view of a destroyed Joplin apartment complex on May 24. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. A vehicle on May 24 sits in the debris of a cell phone tower that collapsed onto an apartment building on the east side of Joplin. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Greg Beeching, left, and his son Brian Beeching move a washer and dryer out of a relative's damaged apartment in Joplin on May 24. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. The hard-hit St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin as well as dozens of destroyed homes are seen on May 24. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. Alicia Gordon salvages items on May 24 from her Joplin home. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. The sun rises over a destroyed neighborhood in Joplin on May 24. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Ernie Darby hugs his son Davis on May 24 as they salvage what they can from the remains of their home in Joplin. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Janet Martin attempts to salvage medication and mementos from her brother's home in Joplin before a second storm moves in on May 23. "Twenty minutes before the storm, he left to go to church," she said. "He would have been in that basement if he hadn't gone." (Julie Denesha / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. A couple walk toward a destroyed building in Joplin on May 23. (Ed Zurga / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. Volunteers clear rubble as they look for survivors in Joplin on May 23. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. A police officer sits in his vehicle facing what is left of the high schoolin Joplin on May 23. (Larry W Smith / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. Kathleen Kelsey, a canine rescue specialist with the Missouri Task Force One search-and-rescue team, guides ChicoDog through the wreckage of a public housing complex in Joplin on May 23. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. People look at what is left of homes in a Joplin neighborhood on May 23. (Larry W Smith / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. Joplin was not the only area that saw a twister over the weekend. Reading, Kan., also was hit, with one person killed. This grain elevator was part of the debris field there on May 23. (Orlin Wagner / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  72. Rescue workers in lime-green jackets search St. John's hospital in Joplin, Mo., May 23. (Wisneski Tulsa World / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  73. This Joplin neighborhood was almost completely flattened. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  74. Maggie Kelley and her husband, Trey Adams hug their dog, Saint, after finding him amid the rubble of her home in Joplin, May 23. (Adam Wisneski / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  75. Ted Grabenauer sleeps on his front porch the morning after a tornado ripped the roof of his home in Joplin, Mo., May 23. (Mike Stone / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  76. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

    A pool of blood remains on the floor of a business in Joplin, Mo., May 23. (Mike Stone / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  77. A note to rescue workers is seen on a house damaged by a tornado in Joplin, Mo., May 23. (Adam Wisneski / Tulsa World via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  78. Mark Langford sorts through the debris looking for personal belongings after his home was destroyed when a tornado hit Joplin, Mo., May 23. (Mike Stone / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  79. A shelf cloud containing a thunderstorm approaches tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo., on May 23. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital, hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  80. Blocks of homes lie in total destruction after a tornado hit Joplin, Mo., on May 23. (Mike Stone / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  81. Donald and Helen Capps of Joplin, Mo., sit in a temporary Red Cross shelter at the Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Mo., on May 23. The Capps lost their home after a destructive tornado moved through Joplin on Sunday evening. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  82. Emergency workers wait for a medical team after finding a body in a destroyed car in Joplin, Mo., in the early hours of May 23. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  83. Utility workers clear downed power lines near the St. John's hospital early on Monday after the devastating tornado hit Joplin, Mo. (Mike Stone / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  84. An emergency worker searches a Walmart store that was severely damaged by the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo., on May 22. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  85. Emergency vehicles line up along northbound Rangeline Road in Joplin, Mo. after the tornado swept through the city on Sunday evening. (Roger Nomer / The Joplin Globe via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  86. Joplin residents help a woman who survived in her basement when the tornado hit the city on Sunday. (Mike Gullett / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  87. A destroyed helicopter lies on its side in the parking lot of the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., on May 22. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  88. William Jackson, left, and Ashley Martin, volunteer firefighters from Oklahoma, survey the wreckage of destroyed homes in Joplin, Mo., on May 22. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  89. Two rescuers try to pull a woman from a destroyed building in Joplin, Mo., after a tornado struck the city on May 22. (Roger Nomer / The Joplin Globe via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  90. A man carries a young girl who was rescued after being trapped with her mother in their home after the tornado hit Joplin, Mo. on May 22. (Mike Gullett / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  91. Rescuers and neighbors look through the the wreckage of destroyed homes on a hillside in Joplin, Mo., on May 22. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  92. A triage team treats wounded people at a triage station set up at 26th and Main Streets in Joplin, Mo. after the tornado swept through the city on May 22. (Mari Taylor / The Joplin Globe via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  93. Emergency personnel walk through a neighborhood severely damaged by a tornado near the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., on May 22. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  94. A pickup truck with what look to be two rescue workers and two injured people weaves in and out of traffic to get to Freeman Hospital West in Joplin, Mo. (Jaime Green / The Wichita Eagle via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  95. A tractor trailer is tipped over on Interstate 44 near Joplin, Mo., after the town was hit by a tornado on May 22. (Jaime Green / The Wichita Eagle via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  96. A woman talks on the phone from a roofless garage after a tornado struck northern Minneapolis, May 22, causing extensive property damage, killing at least one person and injuring at least 18 others. (Craig Lassig / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  97. Lucas Wickander, 13, shows off the skinned knuckles he received after diving under a porch to escape a tornado that struck northern Minneapolis, May 22. (Craig Lassig / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  98. This photo taken Saturday, May 21, looking east from S.W. 37th and Wanamaker shows funnel clouds above Topeka, Kan., at around 6:20 p.m. (Phil Anderson / The Capital-Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  99. Damage to the Reading, Kan., post office caused by a tornado is shown May 22. (Anthony S. Bush / The Capital-Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  100. Matt Railsback, of Miller, Kan., looks at the damage on May 22, caused by a tornado Saturday night in Reading, Kan. Miller was trapped in a storm shelter with his girlfriend in the blue house in the background. His truck was rolled end over end and came to rest at the fire station across the street. (Anthony S. Bush / The Capital-Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  101. Cleanup begins at a tornado-damaged home in Reading, Kan., May 22. (Orlin Wagner / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  102. Lightning from a severe thunderstorm flashes in the distance beyond a crucifix in a cemetery near Easton, Kan., Saturday, May 21. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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Interactive: 2011 tornado season

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