The heart of Joplin Missouri was, in many respects, St. John’s Mercy Hospital. The city’s residents were born there, healed there and often spent their final days there. On May 22, 2011, an F5 tornado tore its way through downtown Joplin and left the hospital in ruins. That ended an era but yesterday a new era was begun with the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Mercy Hospital Joplin.
The streets have been cleared. The debris are being cleaned up. The losses have been counted. Two weeks after an EF5 tornado ripped through the heart of their city, the people of Joplin, Missouri look to the future.
It was supposed to be a typical Sunday evening dinner. As a busy recruiter for Recruiting Substation Joplin, Recruiting Station Kansas City, Shiwdin always used Sunday night as a family night to eat dinner with his wife and kids. The table was set. But on the radio, they heard the storm was coming. Shiwdin helped his kids empty the closet on the bottom floor in the center of the house.
“No sooner than I shut the door, the windows went and all hell broke loose.” Shiwdin said.
Five days after an EF5 tornado carved a swath of destruction through the heart of Joplin, Missouri, the city continues to dig out and plan its recovery. Two sweeps through the affected area have been completed by search and rescue teams using cadaver dogs. Five areas have been identified for further investigation. 126 deaths are currently being reported, with 6,800 homes destroyed.
The National Weather Service has upgraded its rating of the tornado that tore through the center of Joplin Missouri just after 5 pm on Sunday. The storm, with winds in excess of 200 mph, has been rated an EF5.
The latest toll for the monster twister is 122 deaths, 1,500 plus injured, and hundreds still unaccounted for. The six mile path through the city of Joplin varied from one half to three quarters of a mile wide.