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Hoosier

Devastating tornado strikes Joplin, Missouri

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They are doing 6 sweeps. The number of missing is down to 29 or so.

http://dps.mo.gov/ne...sp?ID=N01110015

That list made my stomach upset. Numerous instances of two family members and at least one instance "Howard" of three family members. Looking at the video you took, where the hell do you start? When there is no neighborhood left, where do you start to rebuild?

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That list made my stomach upset. Numerous instances of two family members and at least one instance "Howard" of three family members. Looking at the video you took, where the hell do you start? When there is no neighborhood left, where do you start to rebuild?

It isn't my video, it's one I found online. The video starts in the area Obama toured actually, over by Franklin Tech and Joplin High School. He was on the same street. The guy taking the video turned right on to Missouri street. That entire area is destroyed so he could have taken that video anywhere over there and it would have looked like that. I don't know if people are going to rebuild in some areas or not. All I know is that it won't ever look the same.

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There's still 2 people missing in that area, as well as some deaths, the ones missing may actually be from one of the houses in one of the before/after pictures I've made below even :-\

I'm fairly certain these are the right houses as I've matched them up based on driveway location and the concrete steps in the first picture. The before are from Google a few years ago, and the after were taken from that video I linked.

missourihousescleaned.jpg

This was just down the street from that one.

missourihouses2cleaned.jpg

I should add that my ex-gf's house was about 3 houses down from here but the video cut out before it reached where she lived. She's fine but was busy getting a new social security card and a car since hers is gone, so we didn't talk about much the other day. She had a contusion, and some other medical jargon that I didn't catch but I hope to hear what she went through here in a few days if she's willing to talk about it since she was basically right in the exact path according to the NWS track.

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Hindsight being 20/20, I would make two new requirments for the rebuilt homes. A safe room (underground) and a working SAME radio. I don't know how many times my SAME Radio alerted us to potental storms.

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I saw this the other day. A bank was destroyed and all that was left was the vault.

g122000000000000000d1ad621299660ca5ae951b2ebdab66573fb8aec4.jpg

Saw this story about a UA student who lives in Joplin and was in Tuscaloosa at college and the tornado missed her by about 3 blocks. She drove home to Joplin and 3 weeks later, the tornado here missed her by 3 blocks as well.

http://www.tuscaloos...03/1007?p=1&tc=

There was also a local news story on a man who lived in Racine, MO and lost his wife in the Picher, OK storm when it moved into that area. He moved to Joplin with his daughter and rode out this storm in one of those twister safe tornado shelters. His house was destroyed but the shelter survived.

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I saw this the other day. A bank was destroyed and all that was left was the vault.

g122000000000000000d1ad621299660ca5ae951b2ebdab66573fb8aec4.jpg

Saw this story about a UA student who lives in Joplin and was in Tuscaloosa at college and the tornado missed her by about 3 blocks. She drove home to Joplin and 3 weeks later, the tornado here missed her by 3 blocks as well.

http://www.tuscaloos...03/1007?p=1&tc=

There was also a local news story on a man who lived in Racine, MO and lost his wife in the Picher, OK storm when it moved into that area. He moved to Joplin with his daughter and rode out this storm in one of those twister safe tornado shelters. His house was destroyed but the shelter survived.

Wow, just insane how the foundation is wiped clean and yet that vault is still standing. Wonder if anyone rode out the storm in it?

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Reading this almost brought tears to my eyes. I'm glad your safe to tell your story and I pray for the well-being of your family, friends, neighbors, and city.

Actually, it's kind of mixed emotions. I'm glad it wasn't 3 blocks closer, but at the same time, I feel bad for those involved. Hearing all the stories is incredibly saddening as is seeing the destruction of places you have known all your life. It's amazing to see the power of mother nature but it's extremely sad to consider that some people lost all they had, and some people lost loved ones. The sheer terror that people must have experienced as they heard windows breaking, wood splintering, and having their houses collapse around them.The stories are just terrible to hear. There are children that they can't identify in other hospitals around the area. There was a 4 year old whose parents were killed and they didn't know who she was. The story of an elderly lady found dead in her closet still clutching her bible. I'm sure you heard it was graduation night for Joplin High Schoolers and many were just starting their lives. I'm pretty sure everyone has heard of Will Norton. The recent graduate was on his way home with his dad and was sucked or thrown out the sunroof of his dad's car, he was found in a pond.

I also just saw the story of a mother that was killed when she was going to pick up pizza for her son's graduation party. They had found her car which had been damaged, the roof and seat headrest were missing, the seat belt was still buckled and there was a shoe on the dashboard. They didn't find their mom in the car, but they got a call last night that said she had been found.

I mean, could you imagine that? Could you imagine being so happy because you just graduated and then having that all ripped away in a couple of minutes? I don't think I can.... I can't really imagine that.

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I simply can't bear to look at too many pictures or read too many stories at a time. Now if it is sickening for some of us not even there, I can't imagine the trauma for those who live there and are going through it. The mental health repercussions going forward have got to be off the charts. Probably PTSD rates similar to war survivors.

On another note, in terms of making a donation, I notice on the City of Joplin Facebook page they suggested donations be sent to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. I imagine there is a good reason they were suggested, but before I made the donation, I wanted to double check or hear other ideas from people in the area. (If they were listed earlier in the thread, I apologize).

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My sister was at the Indy 500 and the couple sitting in back of her were from Joplin. They were not hit by the tornado but they lost 2 of their friends. I'm sure this event touches almost everyone in Joplin one way or another.

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Wow, just insane how the foundation is wiped clean and yet that vault is still standing. Wonder if anyone rode out the storm in it?

I wonder about the stuff inside. Like can someone go up and say "I have jewels in vault 1-B." and the bank manager says "Here you go!"

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Nope. I've had safe deposit boxes in a number of institutions and they all required use of two keys to access - one held by the customer (me) and the other by the bank. I go in, sign a card/fill out a form that records who accessed it when (one bank always checked my photo ID, others took my word that I was who I claimed to be), sometimes had the signature compared to the one on file, put my key in one lock and they put their key in the other. Even though in theory the paperwork specified who had access to the box, the fine print covered their butts with wording to the effect that "anyone possessing the key is assumed to be authorized to access the box contents", and the ID/signature-check just to make sure it's not someone pretending to be *me*.

The signup and disclosure forms made a huge deal out of making sure I knew I had to bring my key every time, they couldn't do it with just their key, and "don't lose your key, we can't open the box. You have to fill out paperwork and pay us in advance a fee to cover both drilling the lock and then replacing it and issuing new keys because that's going to destroy it".

Now what would be interesting is how the bank handles this without the backup paperwork ... who/what has the backup copy of the records of who's got what box number, the cards with accountholder info and alternate accesses and access history and so on. My previous bank went from small-local to itty-bitty-branch-of-huge-one to bankrupt-huge-one-gets-bought-by-even-bigger-one, yet the original account open cards, signatures, info, etc, were always in the same beat-up old box in an office that wasn't inside the vault. If this branch had been in Joplin, those records would be in a field a few dozen miles away.

Things are quite different with safe deposit boxes vs stuff left at a hotel office, for example.

Anyhow, sorry to digress so much. Business continuity after disaster is sort of an interest of mine.

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I saw this the other day. A bank was destroyed and all that was left was the vault.

g122000000000000000d1ad621299660ca5ae951b2ebdab66573fb8aec4.jpg

Saw this story about a UA student who lives in Joplin and was in Tuscaloosa at college and the tornado missed her by about 3 blocks. She drove home to Joplin and 3 weeks later, the tornado here missed her by 3 blocks as well.

http://www.tuscaloos...03/1007?p=1&tc=

There was also a local news story on a man who lived in Racine, MO and lost his wife in the Picher, OK storm when it moved into that area. He moved to Joplin with his daughter and rode out this storm in one of those twister safe tornado shelters. His house was destroyed but the shelter survived.

That is a very impressive picture but also very scary. I wonder if that is EF5 damage.

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Hindsight being 20/20, I would make two new requirments for the rebuilt homes. A safe room (underground) and a working SAME radio. I don't know how many times my SAME Radio alerted us to potental storms.

We have an ordinance that all new mobile homes and modular (prebuilt) homes must have SAME radios installed. However, I suspect that a majority of people never turn them on or turn them off after the first time they hear the "annoying" warning tone.

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I simply can't bear to look at too many pictures or read too many stories at a time. Now if it is sickening for some of us not even there, I can't imagine the trauma for those who live there and are going through it. The mental health repercussions going forward have got to be off the charts. Probably PTSD rates similar to war survivors.

On another note, in terms of making a donation, I notice on the City of Joplin Facebook page they suggested donations be sent to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. I imagine there is a good reason they were suggested, but before I made the donation, I wanted to double check or hear other ideas from people in the area. (If they were listed earlier in the thread, I apologize).

CFOzarks was what I had heard on the news. JoMo also provided a few links where you can do some looking around Here

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Back to the meteorological aspects (sorry!)...

Do y'all know when the Springfield NWS office plans to release the complete, detailed survey and official max wind estimate? How long does it usually take after a big event like this?

I'm just very curious to hear the final metrics with regard to intensity, size, etc.

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Beau,

Thanks for posting that article. That is an incredible, heart breaking, hope lifting article. On the board, all we hear are x amount dead, y amount injured. I don't think most of us on here think about the methods of death, injury and destruction these people experienced. Impalements, sand blasted with concrete, crushed, paralysis,suffocation, buried alive, being lifted and tossed like a rag doll hundreds of yards, explosions,sliced, etc.... It must have been an absolute closest thing to Hell on Earth. God bless them. I could never imagine all that at once. Being a fireman, i;ve seen single incidents of such acts, but never within a whole day and in such proximity and shear numbers.

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Damn, that doctor account is so bone chilling. Amazing he found flashlights, it had to be pitch black.

Maybe not pitch black. The tornado pulled out quickly. The sun probably came out, and the buidling was mostly gone, so sun was probably coming in through the roof.

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Federal Gov't is going to pick up 90% of the tab for expedited debris removal.

Some more before/after pictures since those seem to have a lot of impact and help people understand what the area looked like before it was destroyed. It looks so bare without the trees. This isn't my video.

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Weird. On my computer the colors don't match, even when I zoom in real close. EF5 in the legend is a heavy, brick red, and there is no such color on the map.

Correct and incorrect... the brick red in the key isn't even sorta close to being the same color shown in the map. You can use the color identifier in any image editor to verify the difference. It's because they made the colors on the map somewhat transparent so you can see the streets underneath, which is why they're not as dark.

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List of missing is down to 10 names now.

690 pets have been found and some have been reunited with 191 families. Those are the pictures that bring a tear to my eye, seeing people so happy to find their lost pets.

Here's another link with before/after pics.

http://www.buzzfeed....joplin-missouri

Pets are the ****. They can survive anything.

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I almost wish all humans were weather freaks like us. Several lives could have been saved if they really knew what was going on. What supercells look like. That know how to read a radar.

Kinda disagree that having weather saavy would make a difference at that moment..

I remember following the thread on this board at the time.

No one was really paying attention to Joplin as tornadoes possibilities were occurring elsewhere.

This storm quickly formed and produced one of the most destructive tornadoes right in a populated area.

It is not something anyone could predict, immediately even.gun_bandana.gif

A very unique, tragic and unpredictable event.

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Kinda disagree that having weather saavy would make a difference at that moment..

I remember following the thread on this board at the time.

No one was really paying attention to Joplin as tornadoes possibilities were occurring elsewhere.

This storm quickly formed and produced one of the most destructive tornadoes right in a populated area.

It is not something anyone could predict, immediately even.gun_bandana.gif

A very unique, tragic and unpredictable event.

Yeah, I wasn't even prepared for it. I thought we may have some wind or a weak tornado but I wasn't expecting an EF-5. It was rain wrapped as well so some people would have had a hard time seeing it, although I was 3 blocks away and could definitely hear it inside with the TV on even.

The one thing I just remembered now is the power dimming two or three times before I heard the rumbling and the eventual loss of power once it was wiped out about 3 streets away.

The people at the news stations weren't taking it that seriously either since the tornado sirens go off all the time. (and they are tested every Monday at 10:00 AM if the weather is sunny).

Here's a news story on how the media reacted here:

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/2011/05/31/51571/tv-mobilized-as-routine-turned-to-disaster

Jeremiah Cook is not a meteorologist as indicated in the story though. He's the weekend weatherman and doesn't seem to know that much about weather.

I did not have power when the tornado warned storm came through on Tuesday evening/night. I didn't rely on NOAA Weather radio because their updates are not very timely. Instead I listened to the radio station that did a great job in describing where the rotation was and the direction the storms were moving. They even had the Emergency Manager call in and describe what was happening and why the sirens were sounding. The siren for my neighborhood was lost in the tornado so it was replaced with a mobile siren that performed well. The siren went off a second time and the Emergency Manager was called again and he said it was for straight line winds of 75 MPH. It's policy to sound the sirens when 75 MPH winds are expected in the city.

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St Johns - photos

http://www.flickr.co...tos/MercyHealth

45 Seconds: Memoirs of an ER Doctor from May 22, 2011Emergency Department

after May 22 tornado

View more photos from our Flickr

My name is Dr. Kevin Kikta, and I was one of two emergency room doctors who were on duty at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, MO on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

You never know that it will be the most important day of your life until the day is over. The day started like any other day for me: waking up, eating, going to the gym, showering, and going to my 4:00 pm ER shift. As I drove to the hospital I mentally prepared for my shift as I always do, but nothing could ever have prepared me for what was going to happen on this shift. Things were normal for the first hour and half. At approximately 5:30 pm we received a warning that a tornado had been spotted. Although I work in Joplin and went to medical school in Oklahoma, I live in New Jersey, and I have never seen or been in a tornado. I learned that a “code gray” was being called. We were to start bringing patients to safer spots within the ED and hospital.

At 5:42 pm a security guard yelled to everyone, “Take cover! We are about to get hit by a tornado!” I ran with a pregnant RN, Shilo Cook, while others scattered to various places, to the only place that I was familiar with in the hospital without windows, a small doctor’s office in the ED. Together, Shilo and I tremored and huddled under a desk. We heard a loud horrifying sound like a large locomotive ripping through the hospital. The whole hospital shook and vibrated as we heard glass shattering, light bulbs popping, walls collapsing, people screaming, the ceiling caving in above us, and water pipes breaking, showering water down on everything. We suffered this in complete darkness, unaware of anyone else’s status, worried, scared. We could feel a tight pressure in our heads as the tornado annihilated the hospital and the surrounding area. The whole process took about 45 seconds, but seemed like eternity. The hospital had just taken a direct hit from a category EF5 tornado.

Then it was over. Just 45 seconds. 45 long seconds. We looked at each other, terrified, and thanked God that we were alive. We didn’t know, but hoped that it was safe enough to go back out to the ED, find the rest of the staff and patients, and assess our losses.

“Like a bomb went off. ” That’s the only way that I can describe what we saw next. Patients were coming into the ED in droves. It was absolute, utter chaos. They were limping, bleeding, crying, terrified, with debris and glass sticking out of them, just thankful to be alive. The floor was covered with about 3 inches of water, there was no power, not even backup generators, rendering it completely dark and eerie in the ED. The frightening aroma of methane gas leaking from the broken gas lines permeated the air; we knew, but did not dare mention aloud, what that meant. I redoubled my pace.

We had to use flashlights to direct ourselves to the crying and wounded. Where did all the flashlights come from? I’ll never know, but immediately, and thankfully, my years of training in emergency procedures kicked in. There was no power, but our mental generators were up and running, and on high test adrenaline. We had no cell phone service in the first hour, so we were not even able to call for help and backup in the ED.

I remember a patient in his early 20’s gasping for breath, telling me that he was going to die. After a quick exam, I removed the large shard of glass from his back, made the clinical diagnosis of a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and gathered supplies from wherever I could locate them to insert a thoracostomy tube in him. He was a trooper; I’ll never forget his courage. He allowed me to do this without any local anesthetic since none could be found. With his life threatening injuries I knew he was running out of time, and it had to be done. Quickly. Imagine my relief when I heard a big rush of air, and breath sounds again; fortunately, I was able to get him transported out. I immediately moved on to the next patient, an asthmatic in status asthmaticus. We didn’t even have the option of trying a nebulizer treatment or steroids, but I was able to get him intubated using a flashlight that I held in my mouth. A small child of approximately 3-4 years of age was crying; he had a large avulsion of skin to his neck and spine. The gaping wound revealed his cervical spine and upper thoracic spine bones. I could actually count his vertebrae with my fingers. This was a child, his whole life ahead of him, suffering life threatening wounds in front of me, his eyes pleading me to help him.. We could not find any pediatric C collars in the darkness, and water from the shattered main pipes was once again showering down upon all of us. Fortunately, we were able to get him immobilized with towels, and start an IV with fluids and pain meds before shipping him out. We felt paralyzed and helpless ourselves. I didn’t even know a lot of the RN’s I was working with. They were from departments scattered all over the hospital. It didn’t matter. We worked as a team, determined to save lives. There were no specialists available -- my orthopedist was trapped in the OR. We were it, and we knew we had to get patients out of the hospital as quickly as possible. As we were shuffling them out, the fire department showed up and helped us to evacuate. Together we worked furiously, motivated by the knowledge and fear that the methane leaks to cause the hospital could blow up at any minute.

Things were no better outside of the ED. I saw a man crushed under a large SUV, still alive, begging for help; another one was dead, impaled by a street sign through his chest. Wounded people were walking, staggering, all over, dazed and shocked. All around us was chaos, reminding me of scenes in a war movie, or newsreels from bombings in Bagdad. Except this was right in front of me and it had happened in just 45 seconds. My own car was blown away. Gone. Seemingly evaporated. We searched within a half mile radius later that night, but never found the car, only the littered, crumpled remains of former cars. And a John Deere tractor that had blown in from miles away.

Tragedy has a way of revealing human goodness. As I worked, surrounded by devastation and suffering, I realized I was not alone. The people of the community of Joplin were absolutely incredible. Within minutes of the horrific event, local residents showed up in pickups and sport utility vehicles, all offering to help transport the wounded to other facilities, including Freeman, the trauma center literally across the street. Ironically, it had sustained only minimal damage and was functioning (although I’m sure overwhelmed). I carried on, grateful for the help of the community.

Within hours I estimated that over 100 EMS units showed up from various towns, counties and four different states. Considering the circumstances, their response time was miraculous. Roads were blocked with downed utility lines, smashed up cars in piles, and they still made it through.

We continued to carry patients out of the hospital on anything that we could find: sheets, stretchers, broken doors, mattresses, wheelchairs—anything that could be used as a transport mechanism.

As I finished up what I could do at St John’s, I walked with two RN’s, Shilo Cook and Julie Vandorn, to a makeshift MASH center that was being set up miles away at Memorial Hall. We walked where flourishing neighborhoods once stood, astonished to see only the disastrous remains of flattened homes, body parts, and dead people everywhere. I saw a small dog just wimpering in circles over his master who was dead, unaware that his master would not ever play with him again. At one point we tended to a young woman who just stood crying over her dead mother who was crushed by her own home. The young woman covered her mother up with a blanket and then asked all of us, “What should I do?” We had no answer for her, but silence and tears.

By this time news crews and photographers were starting to swarm around, and we were able to get a ride to Memorial Hall from another RN. The chaos was slightly more controlled at Memorial Hall. I was relieved to see many of my colleagues, doctors from every specialty, helping out. It was amazing to be able to see life again. It was also amazing to see how fast workers mobilized to set up this MASH unit under the circumstances. Supplies, food, drink, generators, exam tables, all were there—except pharmaceutical pain meds. I sutured multiple lacerations, and splinted many fractures, including some open with bone exposed, and then intubated another patient with severe COPD, slightly better controlled conditions this time, but still less than optimal.

But we really needed pain meds. I managed to go back to the St John’s with another physician, pharmacist, and a sheriff’s officer. Luckily, security let us in to a highly guarded pharmacy to bring back a garbage bucket sized supply of pain meds.

At about midnight I walked around the parking lot of St. John’s with local law enforcement officers looking for anyone who might be alive or trapped in crushed cars. They spray-painted “X”s on the fortunate vehicles that had been searched without finding anyone inside. The unfortunate vehicles wore “X’s” and sprayed-on numerals, indicating the number of dead inside, crushed in their cars, cars which now resembled flattened recycled aluminum cans the tornado had crumpled in her iron hands, an EF5 tornado, one of the worst in history, whipping through this quiet town with demonic strength. I continued back to Memorial hall into the early morning hours until my ER colleagues told me it was time for me to go home. I was completely exhausted. I had seen enough of my first tornado.

How can one describe these indescribable scenes of destruction? The next day I saw news coverage of this horrible, deadly tornado. It was excellent coverage, and Mike Bettes from the Weather Channel did a great job, but there is nothing that pictures and video can depict compared to seeing it in person. That video will play forever in my mind.

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone involved in helping during this nightmarish disaster. My fellow doctors, RN’s, techs, and all of the staff from St. John’s. I have worked at St John’s for approximately 2 years, and I have always been proud to say that I was a physician at St John’s in Joplin, MO. The smart, selfless and immediate response of the professionals and the community during this catastrophe proves to me that St John’s and the surrounding community are special. I am beyond proud.

To the members of this community, the health care workers from states away, and especially Freeman Medical Center, I commend everyone on unselfishly coming together and giving 110% the way that you all did, even in your own time of need. St John’s Regional Medical Center is gone, but her spirit and goodness lives on in each of you.

EMS, you should be proud of yourselves. You were all excellent, and did a great job despite incredible difficulties and against all odds

For all of the injured who I treated, although I do not remember your names (nor would I expect you to remember mine) I will never forget your faces. I’m glad that I was able to make a difference and help in the best way that I knew how, and hopefully give some of you a chance at rebuilding your lives again. For those whom I was not able to get to or treat, I apologize whole heartedly.

Last, but not least, thank you, and God bless you, Mercy/St John’s for providing incredible care in good times and even more so, in times of the unthinkable, and for all the training that enabled us to be a team and treat the people and save lives.

Sincerely,

Kevin J. Kikta, DO

Department of Emergency Medicine

Mercy/St John’s Regional Medical Center, Joplin, MO

What this doctor is describing is something he will never forget and hopefully never see again, and that doctor has more resolve than most people would have in such a crisis

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