The UK Daily Mail has some incredible photos in their article about the monster tornado that tore through Joplin, Missouri on Sunday night. A hospital was skinned alive, leaving nothing but its concrete skeleton, behind the wreckage of an emergency helicopter that appears to have been… digested by the storm. Houses were not merely flattened, but disassembled. Cars are piled up like children’s toys in a messy recreation room.
More staggering images are posted in a slide show at Fox News, where a dazed survivor compares the scene to the devastation left by World War II carpet bombing. Kathy Dennis of the American Red Cross told the Daily Mail, “I would say 75 percent of the town is virtually gone.”
Another Red Cross spokesman, Michael Spencer, said “I’ve been to about 75 disasters, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this before. You don’t typically see metal structures and metal frames torn apart, and that’s what you see here.” They’re finding debris from Joplin as far as 70 miles away. Rescue workers spent the pre-dawn hours crawling through wreckage lit by dozens of fires from broken gas lines.
CBS News highlights this terrifying video of the tornado ripping past a group of people huddled in the back of a store. It’s dark and you won’t see much, but you’ll never forget what you hear:
The residents of Joplin had barely twenty minutes of warning to find shelter before the tornado hit. Finding shelter from its power proved nearly impossible, for those caught in its path. At least 89 people have been killed, while countless more were injured, and more bodies are sure to be found among the debris. The trail of devastation runs for over six miles.
At least sixty-seven other tornadoes rolled through the Midwest on the same night. The National Guard has been called out, and federal emergency management teams have been dispatched. The Red Cross has a “Safe and Well” website where survivors can register, to let their families know they’re okay. They’ve got their hands full today, and could use any help you can spare.
Update: as expected, and feared, the official death toll has continued to mount, as bodies are discovered in the ruins. As of Monday afternoon, 116 people were reported killed.