The death toll from the tornado that destroyed Joplin, Mo., on Sunday has reached 116 according to a city official, putting it in a tie for the single deadliest twister to hit American soil since the National Weather Service began keeping records 61 years ago.
The last time a tornado caused this much human loss was June 8, 1953, in Flint, Mi.
City Manager Mark Rohr told CNN that people from more than 40 agencies are searching for survivors, despite the continual severe weather.
“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 storm left Joplin unrecognizable, and destroyed many public facilities such as the local high school and hospital.
“Everybody’s going to know people who are dead,” said CNN iReporter Zach Tusinger, who said his aunt and uncle died in the tornado in an article on cnn.com. “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.”
More tornadoes are expected to tear through the Midwest early this week, according to the National Weather Service. They report that there is a 45 percent chance of another tornado outbreak, with peak time between 4 p.m. and midnight on Tuesday.