As the National Weather Service issued another warning about potential disaster on Tuesday, America went on alert, barely 36 hours after of the deadliest tornado that killed 116 people and turned a small Missouri town into a disaster zone.
A new tornado watch was issued on Monday night for the areas around Joplin, as well as Oklahoma and parts of Kansas and Texas.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has deployed a Mobile Emergency Response Team to Missouri to provide a self-sustaining telecommunication, logistics and operations support. It has also sent an Incident Management Assistance Team to Joplin.
The Department of Health and Human Services is coordinating with the medical needs and patient evacuations.
The State Emergency Management Agency is asking all Missourians to assist in the response to the devastating tornado. Missourians interested in volunteering with the recovery are urged to call either 800-427-4626 or 2-1-1. Those with medical skills are asked to visit ShowMeResponse.org.
The New Life Community Church, 16111 Vicie Avenue in Belton, is accepting donations for tornado victims. They are especially looking for items like prepackaged food, water, bedding, clothes and medical supplies.
Based on preliminary estimates, the twister ranked as an EF-4 with winds between 190 and 198 mph, National Weather Service director Jack Hayes said. The massive tornado slammed into the city of Joplin, ripping into a hospital, crushing cars like soda cans.
Survivors recounted harrowing stories of riding out winds of 190-198 mph in walk-in coolers in restaurants and convenience stores, hiding in bathtubs and closets, and of running for their lives as the tornado bore down.
We were getting hit by rocks and I don't even know what hit me, said Leslie Swatosh, 22, 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 inside were alive. Everyone in that store was blessed. There was nothing of that store left, she said.