Benjamin Krain/Getty Images
The rubble of houses is seen in Joplin, Missouri following a deadly tornado that struck May 24, 2011.
The rubble of houses is seen in Joplin, Missouri following a deadly tornado that struck May 24, 2011. Benjamin Krain/Getty Images
At least 13 people died in powerful storms that raked Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma yesterday; at least four powerful tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma. The Oklahoman reports eight people were killed in that state, including a child who died in a hospital. The AP says most of the Oklahoma deaths occurred around Oklahoma City. In Arkansas, the Wall Street Journal says storms pulled the roof off a rural fire house.
In Joplin, hundreds of searchers have swept the devastated town, hoping to find survivors. They located two survivors in the wreckage on Tuesday and plan to continue.
The National Weather Service has ranked the Joplin tornado as an EF-5 twister. That means the winds were in excess of 200 miles per hour. when the storm developed directly over the town. The Enhanced Fujita tornado scale goes no higher: an F5 is called "incredible", while the F3 is described as "severe" and the the F4 is "devastating".
The NWS says "The Joplin tornado is the deadliest since modern recordkeeping began in 1950 and is ranked 8th among the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history." The Service continues, "The US tornado death toll through the month of May this year is the highest since modern record keeping began in 1950."