The National Weather Service has determined that the devastating tornado that directly hit Joplin, Mo. was in fact an EF-5, the highest classification of tornadoes.

This means that Joplin, a city of more than 100,000 people, was battered by winds in excess of 200 miles per hour.

Tornadoes rarely strike cities directly and are much more common in flat, wide open spaces. An EF-5 tornado directly striking a city is extremely rare.

The Joplin tornado is the deadliest on record, taking at least 116 lives and flattening much of the city.

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.

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