The EF-4 category(second strongest classification) tornado that ripped across Joplin, Missouri yesterday Sunday May 22, claimed the lives of 116 people so far and has become the deadliest to hit US terrain since 1953 when another tornado struck Flint, Michigan, 116 were killed as well.
So far, 7 people have been rescued but by 5 p.m. EST an approximately 20,000 homes and businesses were reported to having no power in a city where the total population reaches 50,000 only.
The twister with wind speeds reaching upto 200 mph, touched ground at 5:41p.m. CST, apparently destroying everything along its path. Reuters.com reported that approximately 2,000 homes and several other businesses were destroyed in addition to schools and other buildings in a 6 mile long path. The width of the funnel was reported to be about 3/4 mile wide.
We were getting hit by rocks and I don't even know what hit me, said Leslie Swatosh, 22, according to Reuters, who huddled on the floor of a liquor store with several others, holding onto each other and praying.
When the tornado passed, the store was destroyed but those who had ducked inside were all alive. Everyone in that store was blessed. There was nothing of that store left, she said.
400 people have been registered injured and now the search continues to find survivors who like Leslie may have been fortunate enough to remain alive although still beneath the rubble.