Despite the darkness in this video, the noise of everything breaking, terrified people screeching and children crying are sufficient to portray just how frightening and out of control the tornado that ripped through the Missouri city of Joplin was.
The tornado has reportedly killed more than 85 people and the death toll is rising. The number of people injured is unknown. Cities in three other Midwestern states have also been hit drastically and at least one person died in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It has “cut the city in half,” according to Fire Chief Mitch Randles, who estimated that 25% to 30% of Joplin has been damaged, affecting over 50,000 people.
(PHOTOS: Tornado damage in Joplin, Missouri)
Homes, businesses, churches and schools have been left reduced to pieces of stone.
Almost 100 people were evacuated from the St John Regional Medical Center in Joplin after it was directly hit from the tornado.
Jeff Lehr, a reporter for the Joplin Globe, told the Associated Press: “There was a loud huffing noise, my windows started popping. I had to get downstairs, glass was flying. I opened a closet and pulled myself into it. Then you could hear everything go. It tore the roof off my house, everybody’s house. I came outside and there was nothing left.”
Gas leaks caused fires overnight and lines and telephone connections are cut off, making it both delayed and dangerous for a door-to-door search of the damaged area.
President Obama sent condolences to the families of those who died in storms in Joplin and across the Midwest. “Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the tornadoes and severe weather that struck Joplin, Missouri, as well as communities across the Midwest today,” he said in a statement. “We commend the heroic efforts by those who have responded and who are working to help their friends and neighbors at this very difficult time.”
More storms are on the way. Governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, has declared a state of emergency. “I urge Missourians to keep a close eye on the latest weather information and to follow the instructions and warnings of emergency personnel as these deadly storms continue to move through our state,” he said.
(PHOTOS: Tornado hits St.Louis airport)