Tuesday, May 24, 2011

America's deadliest tornado for 64 years: Terrifying twister cuts six-mile swathe through a Missouri town, leaving up to 116 dead - 24th May 2011

Thousands of people were left without homes to go tonight after the deadliest single tornado to strike the United States in over 60 years touched down on Missouri, reducing the city of Joplin to rubble, ripping buildings apart and killing at least 116 people in a 6-mile path of destruction.

Authorities said they had rescued seven people alive on Monday, but emergency warned that the death toll could climb higher as heavy winds, strong rain and hail quarter-sized hail stones hampered the search effort.

Meteorologists issued a new tornado warning for the devastated city as forecasters warned large swathes of the country to brace for more big storms on Tuesday.

A tornado watch was issued on Monday for Oklahoma and parts of southern Kansas due to an 'evolving tornado threat', said Russell Schneider, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center.

'We are currently forecasting a major severe weather outbreak for Tuesday over the central United States with strong tornadoes likely over Oklahoma, Kansas, extreme northern Texas, southwest Missouri,' Mr Schneider said.

The warning was extended to the area around Joplin, Missouri, and included cities such as Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City.

'On Wednesday, the system will shift eastward to the Mississippi River valley,' Mr Schneider said, including central Illinois and Indiana, southeast Missouri and the southeastern states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and much of Arkansas.

Officials said the tornado that hit at around 6pm on Sunday was the single deadliest in the country since in Woodward, Oklahoma, in April 1947. Read More