A major tornado caused massive damage in Joplin, Mo. Sunday afternoon, leveling buildings, killing dozens and causing massive damage to many standing structures. According to the Springfield News-Leader, at least 89 people have died from the tornado.
Jasper County Emergency Management Director Keith Stammer said the St. John’s Regional Medical Center on the city’s south side took a “direct hit.” He said there are multiple reports of injuries and emergency responders are conducting search and rescue operations.
A spokeswoman at the hospital’s sister facility, Cora Scott, said the tornado affected a patient wing. There were reports that most of the hospital windows were blown out.
The hospital system owns and operates multiple EMS crews throughout southwest Missouri and was sending them to Joplin to assist.
Survivors are reporting more than 20 semi-trailer trucks have been blown over by the tornado. Television stations have been knocked off the air and radio stations are asking for help from anyone who can lend a hand. Victims are trapped in the rubble of houses and in cars.
The roofs of two city fire stations collapsed.
The tornado caused widespread damage to the city when it struck the town around 6 p.m
There were reports of fires throughout the building and fears of an explosion occurring due to broken gas lines.
Many businesses were destroyed and power lines are down throughout the city. Approximately 30% of the city has been serverely damaged according to the latest news reports.
First Person video
Video (mostly audio) taken at Fastrip on east 20th street. Store patrons huddled in the back of the store until the glass got sucked out , then ran into the walk in storage fridge. Sorry for the lack of visuals but the audio is telling of the storm’s intensity and what it sounds like to go survive an F5 tornado. Tornado hits hard around 3:00 minute mark.
Joplin Globe sports writer Ryan Atkinson estimates the twister’s path begins at the destroyed hospital and stretches down through the center of town where a number of shoppers were out.
Ryan says the twister plowed through a popular retail area of downtown Joplin, home to WalMart, Home Deport and Academy Sports, that drew many shoppers, despite the late Sunday hour. He suspects new victims will be found here.
“The WalMart was heavily damaged,” he says. “The Home Depot was pretty much taken out.” No matter the time of day, “there have to be a good number of people at (that popular shopping location). I’m sure there had to be some loss of life there.”
The AP says rescue crews are conducting aa house to house search to try to find any missing or trapped residents but it’ll be tough because there are live power lines down, gas leaks and too many trees in the road.