Joplin tornado claims 89 lives; leaves parts of southwest Missouri in shambles
Kansas City, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011 –Another multi-state severe weather outbreak dropped 68 tornadoes on the central Plains, the Midwest and the western Great Lakes over the weekend, killing at least 90 people, according to NOAA Forecasters. To make matters worse, some of the same areas hit over the weekend could see repeated severe weather through Wednesday.
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center logged nearly 1,000 reports of tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds Saturday and Sunday. There were 20 tornado reports Saturday and 48 Sunday. Saturday tornado reports included 14 from Kansas, 5 from Oklahoma and 1 from Missouri. Reports of tornadoes Sunday included 13 each in Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin, 5 in Iowa, 3 in Oklahoma and 1 in North Dakota.
Today, NOAA’s National Weather Service tornado intensity and damage assessment experts are surveying damage in Joplin and other impacted locations. Emergency officials in Joplin confirmed 89 fatalities from Sunday evening’s tornado along with damage to about 75 percent of the city. Reports from various officials indicated destruction of Joplin High School, the Franklin Technology Center, Irving Elementary and two other elementary schools that had lost their roofs. School officials advised staff members to stay home today while the possibility of reopening any schools is assessed.
Also destroyed were the hospital, the emergency services office, two fire houses, a nursing home, the Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Sonic, and Academy Sports and Outdoors stores. The water treatment plant and the sewage treatment plant were also heavily damaged. Mail delivery for the southern part of the city has been suspended for today.
Other tornadoes claimed lives Friday and Saturday. There was one fatality reported when a tornado struck the Lyon County, Kan., town of Reading late Saturday evening. There was also one fatality reported from a tornado in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday afternoon.
According to the Storm Prediction Center’s convective outlook, some areas impacted over the weekend are in areas at Moderate Risk for severe weather today inside a larger area at Slight Risk. Risk areas include:
- Moderate Risk: southeast Kansas, central to northeast Oklahoma, central to southeast Missouri and northwest Arkansas
- Moderate Risk: east central Illinois, central to northeast Indiana, extreme southeast Michigan, the northern half of Ohio and extreme northeast Pennsylvania
- Slight Risk: from south-central Kansas to north-central and northeast Texas and across parts of Missouri, Illinois and Michigan on the north and Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia to coastal North Carolina to northern New York State.
For Tuesday, Moderate Risk for severe weather is forecast for central, southern and eastern Kansas, most of Oklahoma and extreme north-central Texas. A much larger area at Slight Risk extends from southeast Nebraska, western Kansas and Oklahoma and northeast Texas across Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas along the Ohio Valley to most of Pennsylvania and southeast New York to the Mid Atlantic. See graphic at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/day2otlk.html
There is a Slight Risk of severe weather development Wednesday for parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. See http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/day3otlk.html
Outside the anticipated severe weather area today, most of the country will see rain and thunderstorms. Dry conditions are expected on the West Coast, across the Southwest and the Gulf Coast states and western New England.
NOAA’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service showed 139 locations across the country at some level of flooding this morning. Major Flood levels were reported at 23 gauge sites, 30 were at Moderate Flood and 86 at Minor Flood. Another 187 locations were Near Flood level. See graphics at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/index.php?stage=7
Additional information from local National Weather Service forecast staffs may be reached by selecting the desired area on the national map at http://weather.gov
Contact: Public Affairs Specialist Patrick Slattery (816) 268-3135Return to Latest News