Our hearts go out today to our friends in Joplin, in southwest Missouri. Today medical and rescue personnel and volunteers from all around are converging on Joplin, scene yesterday of the worst single tornado to hit the United States in sixty years. The devastation is unbelievable. More than a hundred people perished. A wide swath of the city has simply been flattened—the wind blasted the bark off the trees. Very little has been left standing. Storm debris has been found more than sixty miles away.
Fortunately, people and animals are being found alive today as rescuers desperately dig through the appalling wreckage.
Yesterday's storms follow tragically close on the heels of what is being called the super-outbreak of 2011, in which 305 tornadoes tore through the South, mostly over a three-day period. Three hundred and sixty-one people are believed to have been killed by tornadoes in the U.S. in April, one of the worst months on record.
According to Bloomberg, Russell Schneider, director of the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said, "We are now on pace for a record year for tornado fatalities. I think we have to be aware that we are just now entering the peak of the season." The worst year for tornado fatalities in the United States was 1925, when 794 people were killed.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by John Brewton: "I was in the Waco tornado of 1953 which killed 144, the deadliest ever in Texas. The funerals went for two weeks. In 1993 our ranch in Texas was almost wiped out by five tornadoes at once. Killed about a hundred deer, but all the cattle were unharmed! If you've never seen the devastation delivered by a powerful storm such as a tornado—good, hopefully you never will. The images live with you forever."