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Devastating tornado strikes Joplin, Missouri

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Mike Bettes sounding off on the "tornado tour" flap on TWC:

http://www.weather.com/weather/videos/on-tv-43/open-mike-399/open-mike-tornado-tours-25749

*The City will receive a $45.2 million block grant, this is from $400 million set aside by Congress for communities affected by disasters. Activities eligible for the grant include construction, property acquisition, infrastructure improvements, down payment assistance, tenant-based rental assistance and social services and economic development.

*As of Dec 1st, 400 of the 523 businesses damaged or destroyed in the tornado have reopened. You can find a lot of information about Missouri's response to the tornado in a new publication (PDF):

http://www.sema.dps.mo.gov/newspubs/publications/AfterTheStorm_Missouri%27sCommitmentToJoplin.pdf

*CART(Citizens Advisory Recovery Team) met last night and ratified the plan for moving Joplin forward based on community ideas at meetings they held.

http://www.joplinglobe.com/local/x1456422828/Road-map-for-Joplins-recovery-endorsed

The visions and goals for the plan are here:

http://joplinareacart.com/vision-and-goals/

*The school board is wanting to float a bond issue, which I'm sure won't go over too well. They had insurance and are getting FEMA support but think they will come up $62 million short.

http://www.joplinglobe.com/local/x1296862219/School-board-contemplating-amounts-for-bond-issue-proposal

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Ok, reposted this with more information and pictures.

Homes of Hope (http://homesofhopejoplin.org) purchased 1.07 acres on a street in the tornado zone not too far away from here. This non-profit organization won $100,000 from the Oscar Meyer Good Neighbor online contest, they also have a thrift store. They are going to divide this land into 3 lots and build 3 'energy efficient, cost effective, small carbon footprint homes.' They hope to build 20 homes in all and the owners of the homes will contribute to the cost of building the homes. It's nice seeing more homes built, this immediate area experienced at least 4 deaths.

This is what the area looked like before the tornado:

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This was 2 days after the tornado:

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This was today, imagine the camera farther left towards the street shooting the same direction:

15axpc.jpg

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Crystal Whitely? Yeah she had the thousand-yard stare going on. You see that in a lot of people when they tell their stories, almost like they are reliving it at that very moment. The show was recorded in October so it had only been 5 months since she had lost 2 of her 3 kids.

Yes, and that's backed by science. When the VA started running group therapy for PTSD clients, more often then not, the larger chunk of the group came out worse after sitting through groups where they talked about the specific combat events. It's been years since I read the reports, but my father was in involved in the study. There is a phase of atrophy where the focus needs to be on meditation (or something spiritual by choice) exercise and rebuilding. At some point, it may come up more often in conversation but never the grotesque harsh details.

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St. Johns hospital demolition will begin Sunday with a ceremony. They are going to use a wrecking ball on the west tower and some kind of grappling equipment on the east tower since they fear an implosion will cause nearby mines to collapse. They will start at the south end of the campus and work their way north, the hospital itself will be demolished last. After the demolition, work will begin on building Irving Elementary on the south end of what was the campus.

The 'volunteer house' where thousands of people that came to Joplin wrote messages to Joplin is being preserved and moved to Schifferdecker Park until a more permanent place can be found. It's got a structure built around it and will be wrapped in plastic. The paint had started to peel.

More photos Thanks to KZRG: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150564838235209.407492.93286195208&type=1

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I saw a lot of volunteers and people stop to take a picture of this little house after the tornado. It says "I survived Thank You Jesus!" on the side.

This is what it looked like on August 21st.

ncytmf.jpg

This is what it looked like on Jan 23rd. The concrete remained intact and the message can still be found inside the grey doors which I think are now being used for storage. The roof has some shingles peeling away, so I think the contractor may have hired some bad roofers or something since that shouldn't happen in 40 MPH winds. This is probably the last picture I'll take of this house as it looks as though it is almost finished.

35a93m0.jpg

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It always shocks me to go back and look at Google Street Map and see that I already forgot what an area looks like after seeing it destroyed.

Before:

f4lgl3.jpg

After (maybe August?)

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And Jan 23rd. The first house on the left is an insulated concrete form house I believe, or something like that.

zsssd4.jpg

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Updated 11:33 PM Eastern.

Busy day today.

*Payless shoe store at 1502 Rangeline reopened.

*Academy Sports and Outdoors reopened.

*Homes of Hope broke ground on the 3, 3 bedroom homes they are going to build.

*Joplin Habitat for Humanity will announce that they are building 10 homes in March-April.

Academy actually had a $100 shopping spree for 40 kids from Irving Elementary that were affected by the tornado, yesterday:

http://www.joplinglo...head-of-opening

You may remember Payless from the Silver Lining tours? video or the police/fire audio of the officer saying his wife was trapped in there.

The officers wife is still recovering from her injuries.

Here's aerial footage of Payless that night, the vid starts right before they zoom in on the store:

Payless story and interview with a survivor still recovering from her injuries (the officer's wife):

http://www.koamtv.com/story/16620432/payless-shoesource-reopens

School district is facing major funding problems. Read this to see how confusing this FEMA stuff is:

http://joplin.school...l?pageid=256857

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St. Johns hospital demolition and groundbreaking on Mercy Joplin will begin today in a few hours. Mike Bettes from the weather channel will be at the ceremony. They are going to use a wrecking ball to take down the west tower and some type of grappling equipment on the east tower since they fear an implosion will cause problems with the nearby mine areas. I have a lot of memories of St. Johns, mostly bad memories since it's a hospital of course, but it's going to look pretty weird not having it standing there. I'm probably going to get lost since it is the largest building in the tornado zone and easiest to find.

CNN wrote a great article yesterday:

http://www.cnn.com/2...nado/index.html

*

In all, five buildings across 47 acres at the hospital site will be demolished and cleared, according to a statement from Mercy, St. John's parent company.

*Three time capsules were recovered -- one buried when the current hospital was built in 1968, one when the east tower was completed in the 1980s and a third that marked St. John's 100th anniversary in Joplin in 1996.

*

Steel, aluminum and copper from the buildings is being salvaged and recycled, hospital officials said. Concrete and asphalt will be crushed into small pieces and used as backfill to ready the site for redevelopment.

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Decent turnout at St. Johns going away party today, media was there as well. The employees got little marble paperweight crosses with St. Johns 2011 printed on them made from a part of St. Johns and the public got granite ones.

And here's a pic as the sun goes down on St. Johns with the wrecking ball in place.

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And here's a shot post-wrecking ball hit. You can see the damage to the outside of the building about 3 floors up. I think they're gonna need a bigger wrecking ball. It took about 7 hits before a piece fell off.

672nhs.jpg

The weather channel has a slideshow:

http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/joplin-hospital-slideshow_2012-01-29

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There are more than 100 houses being built by non-profit organizations and other groups. Thanks to the warm winter we've had so far, a lot has been getting done but I expect it to really pick up again in the Spring and Summer as those organizations get students volunteering to help. Convoy of Hope was the most recent and has pledged at least 18 houses. These houses will be 'green' Insulated Concrete Form houses that are capable of withstanding 200 MPH winds. (but I would also want a shelter due to the windows)

A breakdown of the organizations that have built or pledge to build houses:

*Habitat for Humanity (10 built, 5 Under Construction, 10 slated for Spring)

*Convoy of Hope (18 but probably more)

*Extreme Makeover (7 built)

*Samaritan’s Purse (20 houses in all)

*Homes of Hope (20 houses in all, 3 for sure under construction)

*Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri (8 houses, 2 of those finished already)

*United Methodist Church (Unknown #)

*Relief Spark (was going to build 50 but problems with contractor has limited them to 2)

*Community Foundation Joplin Relief fund (taking bids now.. at least 25 houses)

http://www.joplinglo...ts-other-groups

An article talking about Joplin's business recovery:

According to Joplin Area Chamber President Rob O’Brian, Joplin residents didn’t wait for outside assistance; they got busy themselves, clearing debris from their homes and roads and helping out their neighbors. The flurry of activity in Joplin prompted FEMA officials to ask O’Brian, “Does everyone in Joplin own a chainsaw?”

http://bclc.uschambe...-tornado-joplin

And Mercy/St. Johns has made a video that chronicles their progress, there's some video from inside the destroyed hospital and some stories from workers who were there when the tornado hit.

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Big news will be announced tonight at the Kansas/Missouri basketball game. The Governor's Joplin Challenge will be announced which will partner Missouri's sports teams and NASCAR up with Joplin Habitat for Humanity to build 35 houses in Joplin.

KC Royals, KC Chiefs, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Univ of Missouri, Kansas Speedway.

http://joplinchallenge.mo.gov/

The information:

That was the message Gov. Jay Nixon shared when he launched the 2012 Governor’s Joplin Habitat Challenge. The challenge, in partnership with Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity and Missouri’s major athletic organizations, aims to build 35 new homes in the heart of Joplin during 2012 to provide continued aid to the city’s recovery.

The EF-5 twister that hit Joplin on May 22, 2011, damaged or destroyed more than 7,700 households, and thousands of Joplin residents continue to live in temporary housing or with family or friends. The 2012 Governor’s Joplin Habitat Challenge will address the need for permanent housing by partnering with Joplin Area Habitat to build 35 homes this year and to set the stage for more to follow.

Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity builds new, safe, and affordable homes which are then sold to families in need of better housing. Families pay back the 0% interest loan over 20 years and work a number of “sweat equity” hours towards their home.

Gov. Nixon’s administration will provide a $3.6 million Community Development Block Grant to support construction and organizational management, as well as pave the way for future builds.

The 35 homes will be divided into seven different neighborhoods, with each neighborhood assigned a sponsor from among the seven Missouri athletic organizations.

Players, coaches, alumni, broadcasters and front office staff from each organization will visit their neighborhood on several occasions to serve alongside volunteers and professional builders in assisting with the construction, including framing, siding, painting and landscaping.

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Not sure if anyone has seen this video.

An 18-wheeler drives drives right into the tornado. He's lucky since the tornado had weaken to an EF2 when it crossed the interstate.

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Not sure if anyone has seen this video.

An 18-wheeler drives drives right into the tornado. He's lucky since the tornado had weaken to an EF2 when it crossed the interstate.

Wow, that was crazy. You can see how the rain wrapping around the tornado blocked it from view. As soon as he punched through the wrapping rain curtains there was basically just a wall of black there inside the hook.

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Why did he keep going on when he saw all of the people stopped on the side of the road? He should have been listening to the radio instead of his CD player.

Steve

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Yeah, you can really see how dark it got. That was the strangest thing, I've never seen it that dark, and it seemed like the entire storm was on the ground or very low to it.

The school district is going to put the $62 million bond on the ballot in April. They have released the preliminary drawings for East Middle + Elementary, Irving Elementary and Joplin High School.

East Middle + elementary (basically in the same place):

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Irving (on the south end of the St. Johns hospital campus):

16901601_BG3.jpg

Joplin High School. (a creek will run through the middle of the campus, the school had to be moved up out of the flood plain which is down towards Indiana)

16901601_BG4.jpg

The story for the new JHS can be found here:

http://www.joplinglobe.com/local/x2063986325/-A-creek-runs-through-it-concept-posed-for-new-JHS

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Great story in the Joplin Globe today about the first people that have rebuilt and moved back into their homes in the tornado zone. I know what they mean when they talk about how eerie it is without street lights but the electric company has been working on getting them replaced and I noticed I've been taking pictures of them and was really happy to see them, it's almost like Christmas.

http://www.joplinglo...in-tornado-zone

They feel the wind now.

It howls across a stark landscape of concrete foundations, utility poles and empty streets.

Tamara Comer, who has returned to the 2300 block of Kentucky Ave., said that when the wind isn’t blowing, they’re struck by the contrast.

“It’s so quiet. It’s like you are living out in the country, but you are in a city.’’

Gone are the sounds of children playing in the street in front of her house. Gone are all of her neighbors, but one.

It can be depressingly bleak at times, they say, but these new Joplin pioneers — some of the first to return to rebuild in their old neighborhoods after May 22 — remain hopeful.

Some Quotes:

-“It’s harder at night. It’s dark. There are no lights. All you can see is the shine off of broken glass in the dirt. It’s eerie. It’s the new new,’’ said Comer. “A street light before was no big deal. When we got ours, we just stood there and looked at it.’’

-“I think it was because of those Tuscaloosa interviews that I saw where people survived in their bathrooms and closets. I never thought that I was going to die.’’

-“We were standing on the back porch, my husband asked: ‘Do you hear that? Is that a train or a tornado?’ It was this black thing. It was too big to tell it was a tornado.’’

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I posted a picture of the groundwork going on for the Elks Lodge a few pages back.

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They have now finished with that and have been building the basement possibly? This was taken about a week ago:

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This is one of the houses Samaritan's Purse is rebuilding. I posted the story that they were building 20 homes earlier:

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A picture of St. Johns with a house being rebuilt in front of it. I'm posting this so I can remember to take a pic of the same view in a couple of months when St. Johns is gone.

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A pic of one of the most exciting things... Street lights! You have no idea how exciting it is to see these going up in the destroyed neighborhoods, it was so dark without these. This is taken on the same street as in post

St. Paul's is behind me and it has started rebuilding it's sanctuary area.

The area before:

b4x3ic.jpg

And now, featuring street lights.

2ijoftw.jpg

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Joplin High School Demolition started today after delays due to a a flooded basement and asbestos abatement. Still waiting on the hospital demolition due to asbestos issues.

Pics from KZRG:

http://www.facebook.com/NewsTalkKZRG

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I take it you went to high school there? That has to be surreal to see that being torn down.

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I take it you went to high school there? That has to be surreal to see that being torn down.

The entire experience since the tornado has been surreal, lol

I lost my elementary school, middle school, high school and you can count Franklin Tech as a different school I guess. My senior year had a lot of classes over there. It's still weird seeing all the changes, after the hospital is gone, it will look even more different.

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Joplin CVB has decided to stop printing the 'tornado tours' maps.

'Tuttle says the agency has run out of the maps at some locations, and the visitors bureau board has decided to hold off reprinting them. Maybe it will be revised for the one-year anniversary, and maybe it will be a different map that reflects a different moment in Joplin.'

http://www.latimes.c...1,6583307.story

Joplin tornado siren policy will be discussed at the city council meeting tomorrow. They won't say what changes they are making though until the meeting.

http://www.newstalkk...cussed/12323487

KSPR's coverage on Zachary Williams is up for an award.

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Don't think this vid has been posted yet. Kind of a different perspective from south of the tornado. The vid owner said he lives just south of Charlies Chicken, which I checked and is on E32nd street. The tornado missed him by several blocks to the north.

At the beginning of the video it looks pretty benign, but after about the 1:40 mark you start to see power flashes to the west-northwest. By the end of the video there's multiple power flashes, and a faint roar can be heard to the distant west. You can also see the RFD core heading right at them.

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It stills boggle me..

At the end of the video, the girl says ,in reference to the tor sirens, "and now they're turning them off? Well, I'm not sure if they keep them on the whole time".

A severe lack of education on emergency procedures from the govt level To the general population.(all levels, state, local mostly). I mean, you live in the heart of tornado alley, how isn't everyone educated ? It's mind blowing. I know not everybody can be fully informed on these procedures, but c'mon!

Sorry for the rant, just something I wanted to discuss.

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It stills boggle me..

At the end of the video, the girl says ,in reference to the tor sirens, "and now they're turning them off? Well, I'm not sure if they keep them on the whole time".

A severe lack of education on emergency procedures from the govt level To the general population.(all levels, state, local mostly). I mean, you live in the heart of tornado alley, how isn't everyone educated ? It's mind blowing. I know not everybody can be fully informed on these procedures, but c'mon!

Sorry for the rant, just something I wanted to discuss.

I thought they would leave them on the entire time a tornado was on the ground as well. By the time they stopped activating the 2nd time (3 minutes) it was near the high school, about halfway through the city. I think leaving them on would amplify the seriousness of the warning.

You have to remember, the sirens are activated here a lot, I think around 6 times a year for tornado warnings and usually nothing happens.

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Ok second try...Joplin's siren policy was changed tonight.

Fire Chief Mitch Randles said this which is what I've been saying all along:

"People hear the sirens during the testing and the other warnings and they get desensitized to those sirens. So what we're trying to do by limiting the number of testings is to limit the number of times people hear the sirens to only when they need to take cover."

Tests will be conducted on the first and third Mondays of the month instead of every week like they were before.

2 sirens will be replaced and 16 upgraded with mobile activation technology, solar panels, and silent testing technology.

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Ok second try...Joplin's siren policy was changed tonight.

Fire Chief Mitch Randles said this which is what I've been saying all along:

"People hear the sirens during the testing and the other warnings and they get desensitized to those sirens. So what we're trying to do by limiting the number of testings is to limit the number of times people hear the sirens to only when they need to take cover."

Tests will be conducted on the first and third Mondays of the month instead of every week like they were before.

2 sirens will be replaced and 16 upgraded with mobile activation technology, solar panels, and silent testing technology.

No word on activating the sirens more than once for a tornado warning?

I wonder what the solar panels are used for. Probably not the siren batteries, but for the new equipment to power a reserve battery so the sirens can still be activated from the EMA if the power is out.

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No word on activating the sirens more than once for a tornado warning?

I wonder what the solar panels are used for. Probably not the siren batteries, but for the new equipment to power a reserve battery so the sirens can still be activated from the EMA if the power is out.

Still a 3 minute activation, however, if 10 minutes have passed between the last activation and the storm still has not arrived, they can blow them again for 3 minutes. They will also be able to activate them individually or in groups. They are going to start testing them individually on Feb 27th and silent testing will begin in the summer.

The solar panels are to charge the batteries if there is a loss of power.

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