Missouri is in a state of emergency after a tornado tore through the city of Joplin leaving at least 116 people dead and more than a quarter of the city devastated.
The tornado carved a path six miles long and more than half-a-mile wide straight, damaging an area that was home to approximately 50,000 people. A large commercial district in the area, including St. John's Regional Medical Center, also took a direct hit in the storm. According to reports, 300 patients had to be evacuated.
Search and rescue efforts continue throughout Joplin; however the threat of a new storm system is imminent. With hundreds of lives claimed so far in 2011, this year has seen one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in decades. The tornado that hit Joplin was one of 68 reported twisters over the weekend. At least two people died in northern Minneapolis. The small eastern town of Reading, Kansas was also badly hit.
"One minute, it was just barely sprinkling. The next minute, boy, just
-- the whole world was just upside-down." - Tornado victim
"This tornado went through a major residential part of our city and damaged a large commercial district in the Rangeline area of the city before it moved out of Joplin. We are pulling together in our emergency operations center to ensure that our citizens are safe and informed as we go through this tragedy." -Mark Rohr, Joplin City Manager.
"It was a devastating day for many of them. They came and saw that their homes had been ripped apart, that, in some cases, the home is completely gone. In other cases, it's just a mess and they have a lot to do to clean it up." - Sharon Watson, Kansas Emergency Management.
1. What is a tornado? How does one form?
2. Where is Joplin, Missouri located? What can you tell about this city from its position on the map?
1. If you were in a town and heard that a tornado was coming, what would you do?
2. How can people prepare for the natural disasters described in this story?
3. Has your community ever experienced a tornado? If so, what happened? If not, what are some natural disasters that your community is prepared for?
ARE THE WORLD'S WEATHER AND CLIMATE CHANGING?:
116 Confirmed Dead After Tornado in Joplin, Mo. :