The superfunnels that hit Tuscaloosa, Ala., in late April and Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, are generated by storm systems whose journeys across the country are slowed by a roadblocked jet stream.
tornadovideo.net / AP
Rescue crews continue to comb through the storm-swept streets of Joplin, Mo., following Sunday night's powerful tornado, which cut a swath of destruction through the center of the city more than six miles long and nearly a mile wide.
At least 116 people have died, according to emergency managers – the highest number of fatalities from a single tornado in over 60 years. At least 17 survivors have been pulled from the rubble the twister left in its wake.
The last twister with a similar toll appeared during a 1953 tornado outbreak in the Eastern US. Some 116 people were killed when a tornado struck Flint, Mich. The same outbreak sent a mile-wide tornado through Worcester County in central Massachusetts – a part of the country where tornadoes of that scale are rare – resulting in the deaths of 94 people.
On Monday, National Weather Service forecasters said the Joplin tornado packed winds of between 192 and 198 miles per hour, based on a preliminary survey of the damage. After more survey work the next day, they raised the estimated wind speeds to more than 200 m.p.h. on Tuesday evening, giving the tornado a rating of EF5 – the most-destructive designation, said Bill Davis, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in Springfield, Mo., who headed the survey team.
Page 1 of 5