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Deadliest tornado since 1953 strikes Joplin, Missouri

Monday, May 23rd, 2011 1:30pm MST
Cars and debris are strewn about in front of the devastated St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri. (Twitpic / borntorunnergrl)

Cars and debris are strewn about in front of the devastated St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri. Click the image to view a slideshow of the devastation. (Twitpic / borntorunnergrl)

Following on last month’s devastating bout of severe weather the month of May had started out much quieter.  That silence from Mother Nature however was shattered yesterday as a massive tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri killing at least 89 people.

Late afternoon brought storm clouds to southwestern Missouri and a tornado warning soon sounded.  Residents of Joplin had 20 minutes to find cover before the massive tornado struck the heart of town.

  • Scroll down for amazing video of the Joplin tornado as it grows with amazing speed.  Also be sure to check out the slideshow of images of the devastation.

As frightened residents huddled in basements and bathrooms, the twister destroyed as much as 75% of the town.  The high school, regional medical center, an elementary school as well as thousands of other homes and businesses were destroyed.

The human toll from the tornado was devastating.  At latest report 89 people were killed and emergency crews continue to search for survivors as the death toll is expected to climb.

Not since June 9, 1953 has a deadlier single tornado been responsible for so much death.  As is, the Joplin tornado would rank as the 21st deadliest tornado in the history of the United States.  In all likelihood it will climb further up the rankings.

Slideshow: Scenes of destruction played out in Joplin, MO after tornado strikes. (Examiner.com)

The National Guard has been activated by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to help with recovery efforts.  Relief agencies across the nation were deploying personnel and supplies to assist as well.

The tornado that struck Joplin was part of a larger set of storms that struck multiple states on Sunday.  In all, 48 tornadoes were reported including one near Minneapolis that claimed the life of one person.

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