Deadly Twisters Wreaked Havoc

A week of destructive weather has torn up the nation's midsection — with tornadoes from Texas to Oklahoma City to Joplin, Mo., which a week later continues to dig out from the deadliest twister in more than 60 years. We take a look back at the week and hear from Alabamans still coming to grips with the damage.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Rachel Martin, in for Guy Raz.

President BARACK OBAMA: You have shown the world what it means to love thy neighbor. You've banded together. You've come to each other's aid. You've demonstrated a simple truth, that amid heartbreak and tragedy, no one is a stranger.

MARTIN: President Obama, on a visit to Joplin, Missouri, that marks the end of a week of devastating weather across the Midwest. That's our cover story today.

It started in Joplin a week ago this evening. Former Mayor Gary Shaw described the scene the next morning.

Mr. GARY SHAW (Former Mayor, Joplin, Missouri): Pickups stacked on top of one another. The trees and everything that had uprooted, it just stripped the bark off of them. I mean, they're like somebody's taken a knife and cut all the bark off of them. We've lost tons and tons of homes, and there are people out trying to uncover the dead right now.

MARTIN: Days later, another round of storms struck Oklahoma, where Governor Mary Fallin spoke with residents trying to salvage what they could.

Governor MARY FALLIN (Republican, Oklahoma): You left when you heard the storm was coming?

Unidentified Woman #1: Mm-hmm.

Gov. FALLIN: Went to a safer place?

Unidentified Woman #1: Yup.

Gov. FALLIN: Did you lose everything, or have you been able to find some things?

Unidentified Woman #1: (Unintelligible) a bunch of trash. All the (unintelligible) gone.

MARTIN: Meanwhile, residents in Alabama are still recovering from tornadoes that hit there late last month. Jerry Moore and his family rode those storms out in an old school bus he had buried in a hillside.

Mr. JERRY MOORE: Well, when we come out, we thought everything was gone because we couldn't see nothing, there were so many trees down. We've seen there was the top of one of my daughters' trailers in the lake, but I thought it was the house to start with. It's just something that you don't believe, you know? It just looked like everything was gone. And finally, we looked around, we realized what had happened.

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