The Jopiln Missouri Tornado.

The mess the Jopiln Tornado left behind.

On May 22, 2011 the city of Joplin, Missouri was impacted by an EF-5 tornado. There were 158 deaths with over a 1,000 injured as a result of the tornado.

At its peak it was up to a mile wide with winds in excess of 200 miles an hour. The tornado was on the ground for 22.1 miles and lasted an estimated 38 minutes from start to finish. Around 7,000 homes were destroyed, not including any businesses or public buildings.

The tornado hit the ground about a half mile southwest of JJ Highway and West 32nd Street, where storm spotters and chasers reported seeing multiple funnel clouds around the main circulation prior to the tornado becoming rain wrapped.

From the approximate starting point, the tornado traveled towards South Alfalfa Street, where EF-1 damage was found. The tornado then moved east along 32nd Street, where low EF-2 damage to well-constructed brick and wooded frame homes was observed near South Country Club Drive. At this point, the tornado was about one quarter mile in width.

Continuing east northeast, the tornado crossed 32nd Street where it produced EF-2 to low EF-3 damage from Iron Gate Road east to Schifferdecker Avenue. Low EF-4 damage was found just west of Schifferdecker Avenue as smaller well-built commercial buildings sustained heavy damage.

After crossing Schifferdecker Avenue, the tornado moved east toward McClelland Boulevard with a forward speed of 20 to 25 miles per hour. It was over three quarters of a mile wide.

St. John’s Hospital was very damaged — 200 to 300 pound parking stops were lifted and tossed 30 to 60 yards. Large steel reinforced concrete steps outside of a medical art building were shifted a few inches and cracked. Concrete walls toppled and steel support beams from some buildings were curved and twisted. EF-3 to low end EF-5 damage continued to just east of Rangeline Road as the tornado approached the Dusquesne area.

At full strength, the tornado smashes homes and swept them from their foundations. Steel reinforced concrete porches and driveways were lifted and tossed. Cars were tossed into other homes or in some cases rolled up and smashed completely. This type of damage was found the along the rest of the track to just east of Rangeline Road. Along the track, boards, limbs and twigs were embedded into wood and stucco walls and wooded framed homes were completely disintegrated. Franklin Technical Center was destroyed as was the newer section of the High School; the outer walls of the older section were very damaged. A bank was completely destroyed, except for the concrete bank vault.

At South Rangeline Road and 20th Street EF-4 and low end EF-5 damage was also found, where a lot of well-constructed buildings were destroyed. A parking lot west of a Home Depot and a portion of a Walmart parking lot had scoured sand and gravel. Vehicles were tossed, one into the Home Depot. Once the tornado crossed Rangeline Road, it began to weaken. EF-3 and low EF-4 damage was found as the tornado was roughly half a mile wide. The tornado moved southeast as it crossed Interstate 44; damage here was EF-2 — cars and trucks were blown off the high way. The tornado lifted about 4.8 miles north northeast from Granby, Missouri.

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