Online Staff Report
At least 89 people are dead after a fierce tornado ripped through the city of Joplin, in southwest Missouri, Sunday, May 22.
The initial report that 24 people perished in the storm came at dawn Monday, May 23, as city officials held a press conference outside a hospital that was in direct line of the twister.
According to City Manager Mark Rohr, the tornado ripped through the center of town, forging a path approximately a half-mile wide and six miles long.
Officials were only given approximately 20 minutes to sound warning sirens before the twister touched down near the west end of the city.
Officials estimated, as of early Monday morning, 50 percent of Joplin has been severely damaged. Most of the city’s south side has been leveled.
Rohr said rescue teams are conducting door-to-door searches and expect the death toll to rise as the wreckage is further assessed.
Joplin, a city of approximately 50,000, is about 160 miles south of Kansas City.