The residents of Joplin Missouri had no chance Sunday night as they went about their normal routines as the first drops of rain began to fall from the sky. Who knew that Joplin, Missouri would lose one of the main hospitals, their high school and a slew of other buildings, to an EF4 tornado. Meteorologists did not, claiming that the tornado was “rain wrapped” making it near impossible to detect.
The Joplin, Missouri tornado left a path 6 miles long and a half-a-mile wide on Sunday night. Currently there are 89 confirmed dead, while the injured are being transported to nearby hospitals due to Joplin’s major medical center St. John’s taking on major damage after the tornado ripped through the area. Downtown Joplin’s Memorial Hall is currently hosting a temporary hospital to treat those injured by the Joplin Missouri tornado.
Kathy Dennis of the American Red Cross believes that the Joplin Missouri tornado destroyed 75% of the town by the end of its rampage. However the Jasper County Emergency Management Director Keith Stammer estimated Joplin’s tornado damage to be more in the 10%-20% range claiming that the central portion of the city is extremely dense in population.
Joplin is located in the southwest region of Missouri, just on the edge of the Ozark Mountain region with a residential population of 49,024. During the day however Joplin, Missouri grows to be five times that number as the population skyrockets to 270,000 people making it Missouri’s fourth largest metropolitan area. The town of Joplin, Missouri also lies within the area of the Midwest known as “tornado alley”.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety deployed search and rescue teams along with medical personnel and heavy equipment while Empire Electric reported 20,000 people without power according to Ozarksfirst.com after the Joplin Missouri tornado touched down.
Although he is currently out of the country, President Barack Obama ordered full-scale federal assistance from Dublin, Ireland in response to the Joplin Missouri tornado.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has their work cut out for them as between the flooding of the Mississippi in areas down south and now the devastation left behind by the Joplin Missouri tornado. FEMA is currently en route to Joplin to address the damage left by the tornado Sunday night.
Over the years FEMA has declared and documented disasters occurring each year throughout the United States on their website due to natural disasters such as the Joplin Missouri tornado. By May of 2009 FEMA had declared 28 major disasters along with 4 emergency declarations due to weather. Before May of 2010 the number of major disasters declared by FEMA was 41, while the emergency disaster declarations hit 6, 3 of which included major flooding in Minnesota, North Dakota and Rhode Island.
As of today, May 23, 2011 the number of major disasters declared by FEMA is 36 while the number of emergency disasters declared has increased to 7. The Joplin Missouri tornado has caused Mayor Mike Woolston to declare a local emergency disaster as the emergency operations center was activated. In order to find out how you can help with disasters such as the Joplin Missouri tornado, please visit FEMA’s website and navigate to where you would like to volunteer.