Wreckage at the Joplin Walmart  (Media credit/KOAM TV via Twitter. Original photo by Ashley Sandbothe.)

Wreckage at the Joplin Walmart. (Media credit/KOAM TV via Twitter. Original photo by Ashley Sandbothe.)

A tornado struck the city of Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, killing at least 116 people and causing catastrophic damage.

Nearly a quarter of Joplin has been destroyed — not damaged, but removed from the earth.

A massive search and rescue operation has been going on in Jasper County, with temporary morgues going up in the streets.

There are reports of casualties and damage at the St. John’s Regional Medical Center, at Joplin High School, at a Walmart, and an apartment complex, with people killed, injured and trapped.

The tornado appears to have drawn a telltale line of destruction through neighborhoods, crushing everything in its path. It also directly hit the hospital.

“There are homes completely destroyed, and there are a lot,” a rescuer in the area said over the radio around 9 p.m. Central Time.

Rescuers are also showing concern for their own families, with police officers on the radio asking other officers on the road if their homes are safe.

St. John’s reportedly has severe structural damage and is sending its critical patients to other hospitals as far away as Arkansas and northern Missouri.

St. John’s hospital was hit so hard — and the storm was so powerful — that one resident, nearly 45-miles away, reported that his yard was full of medical supplies and x-rays marked as belonging to the hospital.

A roadside temporary morgue was set up in Joplin Sunday night.

There are also reports of casualties at a Baptist church.

Click here to listen to live audio of the search and rescue efforts.

According to KMBC in Kansas City, Doug Heady, the chief meteorologist at KOAM-TV in Joplin, said “the storm flipped tractor-trailers and cars. People are reported to be trapped in their vehicles.”

The station also reports that the roofs at two fire houses have collapsed.

House-to-house searches are going on, and there are reports of looting in Joplin.

Meteorologists believe the tornado was at least an EF-3 classification. Reports indicate it may have been more than 3/4 of a mile wide.

KOAM also reports that multiple twisters may have actually hit Joplin.

The National Guard has been activated and a state of emergency was declared.

KOAM and Fox 14, both of Joplin, have taken to Facebook to keep viewers informed.

KOAM photographer Crystal Albright, at 15th and Range Line in Joplin, reported that a Burger King restaurant was gone and a King’s Palace Chinese restaurant was on fire.

AccuWeather reports that some 50 tornadoes struck the Midwest Sunday. More thunderstorms rocked the area on Monday.

Joplin in in southwest Missouri, near the Kansas and Oklahoma borders and about 40 miles north of Arkansas.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

3 Responses

  1. robby

    My mom was in this Wal -Mart taking cover during the tornado. She called me from the rubble- not making sense of what she was saying. I finally figured out what she was saying. She was in the restroom at wal-mart and was stuck trying to get out. She said the building was gone. A tornado just hit. I ran and told my husband to turn on the whether channel to see. When he did- a “special report” just came on about it. We live in Texas and I had lost my connection with my mom. So, I called my sister in Carthage to see how her family was and couldn’t get a hold of them either. I was really getting worried. I was able to get my sister on the phone after many tries. They were fine and on their way to help our mom. My mom was able to call again. Two people helped her out of the rubble. When she got a look at the devastation and she just wept. She said that the restroom she and eight other people took cover in was the only structure left. The restroom right next to her was gone. I just thank God that she was o.k. but my heart goes out to the others that have lost their loved ones. My mom said it looked like a bomb went off. She just couldn’t stop crying…. you are in our prayers!!

  2. Jayne

    My son works there and he was there. He got out OK but he seems pretty torn about what he saw…I guess that store was pretty bad.

  3. Kim

    Wow is all I can say. I was just in the Home Depot. I can’t believe it is gone. Those poor people inside. I just want to help and hug people that are hurting but they say we need to stay away not to impede rescue responders. Thank you for sharing your story. So good to hear of survivors. God bless you and know your mother is still here for a reason. It will be a long journey to recovery but we will do it. And looters!? Seriously? What’s with that ?! Come on people we are better than that. That’s sick!


Leave a Reply