Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Joplin Horror

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

It's really tough being on this little rock out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and feeling so disconnected from home - especially in times of crisis.  But the Internet and instant communication makes it a far different situation from when I was here forty years ago.   Color photos of the catastrophic situation in Joplin are on all of the national news sites, and I am beginning to hear lots of personal stories through email.

My youngest son wrote and said that a boyhood friend of his had lost his house in the tornado, but the young man and his wife and kids were fine.  That's what really counts.

My friend Brenda Kilby, a former reporter who lives south of Joplin near the rural community of Jane, Missouri, wrote about her daughter-in-law who was at work at St. John's Hospital on the second floor when the tornado did a direct hit on that nine-story structure.  She said that had about a twenty-minute warning and managed to get to safety, but her daughter-in-law's car was destroyed in the parking lot.

Here is some more of what Brenda had to say about the horrific tornado that hit Joplin with 198 mph winds.

"Well, the world did not come to an end as forecast, but don't tell Joplin that. I'm sure all of you know that Joplin, Mo. was devastated yesterday afternoon by an F-4 tornado that tore through the heart of town, leaving a swath of destruction a mile wide and six miles long. The twister was being followed by spotters from The Weather Channel, so they got a lot of really good video right away. Here's the damage: beginning on the southwest edge of town from Riverton, Kan., the tornado touched down and went through the medical district, hitting St. John's hospital full force, tearing apart the top two floors and breaking all the windows out. Surrounding medical buildings and houses were blown apart and destroyed. The tornado then continued on a path down 20th street, leveling the residential area and then arrived on Range Line and 15th street, approximately, destroying a Wal-Mart and a Home Depot and all the other structures around it. Joann's Fabrics and the Payless Shoe store were demolished, as was the new MacAdoodles that had been built recently across the street. No word regarding Fletcher Toyota, but as it is also in the region, I don't hope for much there. Before leaving Joplin, the tornado tore through Duquesne and then onto the area where Highway 71 meets Interstate 44; there, at least 20 vehicles, many of them semi trucks, were overturned or tossed about. Immediately afterward, Interstate 44 was closed, and while that is now back in business, partially, Range Line is closed from 10th street to 26th street, giving you some idea of the carnage. 89 are confirmed dead. The death toll is expected to rise."
That was used without permission, but Brenda posts here frequently and I trust she won't mind.  It is a better account than anything I read in the news on the Internet.

The latest death toll that I have seen in 116, but it sounds as though there are still a lot of downed buildings and rubble to be gone through.

I made a contribution to the Salvation Army on-line for Joplin, and truly wish that there was more that I could do.  This event of nature is just so unbelievable!

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