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Wild weather systems tore through the United States from Minnesota to Texas, producing devastating tornadoes that killed at least 117 people.
The destructive weather, which spawned nearly 50 tornadoes on May 22, came only three weeks after the largest tornado outbreak in U.S. history that killed more than 300 victims.
Joplin, Missouri, was hardest hit. The American Red Cross estimates that more than 75 percent of the town of 50,000 people was decimated.
“The deadliest U.S. tornado in nearly six decades ripped through the southwest Missouri city of Joplin, leveling schools, businesses and churches and killing at least 116 people,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Rescue workers Monday searched for survivors of a twister more than half a mile wide that roared through here Sunday evening at wind speeds above 190 mph.”
At least 500 were injured in Joplin alone and 1,500 have been reported missing.
“You see pictures of World War II, the devastation and all that with the bombing,” a Joplin High School principal told USA Today. “That’s really what it looked like.”
More than 20 cars and tractors were strewn across the town’s highway, and X-ray films from a wrecked hospital were retrieved as far as 70 miles away, AccuWeather reported.
While Joplin was the most-affected town, the storms were “part of a larger system that triggered severe weather that killed one person in Kansas on Saturday night and caused damage from Minnesota to Texas on Sunday. At least one person was killed and 29 injured in storms that hit Minneapolis, Minn. Meanwhile, La Crosse, Wis., was also hit hard as winds tore roofs off homes and trapped residents inside” (ibid.).
The death toll will likely rise as rescue workers continue to search through wreckage.
To learn why severe weather is increasing, read “What’s Wrong with the Weather?”