Life Flight Helicopter lies on its side in front of St. John's Regional Medical Center
Windows were blown out and a fire started in St. John's Regional Medical Center when a half-mile wide tornado struck the city. Damage was extensive and while only 24 deaths have been reported so far there are signs that the toll will be much higher. For instance, there are reports on twitter about establishing a morgue and discussion of how to manage the corpses:
@ProducerMatthew: A temporary morgue is being established at a university near Joplin, MO.@Lets_Go_Hawks: listening to joplin scanner radio. just heard a guy asking if he should load bodies in the back of his truck and take them to temp morgue.@brooksbayne: the cops in joplin said they're just leaving "flashers" out where the dead are so the morgue trucks can find the bodies and transport them.@paulvseale: Listening to the law enforcement scanner sounds like more than 24 people died in Joplin. Law enforcement asking for more body bags. /shudder
PoliticMO's Eli Yokley quotes one Joplin resident: ”It was like an atomic bomb went off,” and from the pictures it's hard to argue with that.
Firehouse Collapsed on Firetruck
Cell towers and phone lines are down across the area making communication with family members difficult. A facebook page has been established to help loved ones locate one another.
Cell Tower fell on Apartment Building
Businesses have been destroyed as well. A Walmart and a Home Depot have both suffered extensive damage.
The Joplin Walmart without walls or a roof
The power of this twister is evident from the damage done in parking lots. Cars were picked up and thrown around by this twister.
Walmart parking lot after the Joplin tornado
The high school was devastated, too.
Damage to the Joplin High School
OzarksFirst.com: How to Help Joplin MO Tornado Victims:
Emergency officials are asking sightseers to stay away from the area while the damage is assessed. To volunteer, call 1-800-427-4626The Red Cross says volunteers are being mobilized and a shelter has been set up at Missouri Southern State College at 3950 E. Newman Road in Joplin at the Leggett & Platt Ath Center.For nurses or doctors looking to help, call (417) 832-9500 for the Greater Ozarks chapter of the Red Cross.The Missouri State Highway Patrol is asking all first responders to go to Joplin to a command post at 34th & Main.