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Devastating tornado strikes Joplin, Missouri


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Pretty good article from a Springfield paper, but one mistake in this article was the mention of Walgreens not being rebuilt. Actually both the Walgreens built back in record time. I suspect the author of this article was talking about a gas station that was located on the corner of 26th and Maiden Lane that has not rebuilt back.

 

http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2016/05/21/five-years-after-devastating-may-2011-joplin-tornado-heres-what-city-looks-like/83589110/

 

 

AP's article on the Joplin tornado:

 

Survivors of tornado that leveled Missouri city look back

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/7e1d990a8fa74a9994d16fb5b5774b86/survivors-tornado-leveled-missouri-city-look-back

 

 

National Geographic's "Witness: Joplin Tornado"

 

I'll probably post one last summary of the entire 5 years later today. 

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Pretty good article from a Springfield paper, but one mistake in this article was the mention of Walgreens not being rebuilt. Actually both the Walgreens built back in record time. I suspect the author of this article was talking about a gas station that was located on the corner of 26th and Maiden Lane that has not rebuilt back.

http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2016/05/21/five-years-after-devastating-may-2011-joplin-tornado-heres-what-city-looks-like/83589110/

AP's article on the Joplin tornado:

Survivors of tornado that leveled Missouri city look back

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/7e1d990a8fa74a9994d16fb5b5774b86/survivors-tornado-leveled-missouri-city-look-back

National Geographic's "Witness: Joplin Tornado"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG2DTAzZAzw

I'll probably post one last summary of the entire 5 years later today.

If I remember correctly, one of the most suspenseful times here on American Weather Forum during the hours and days immediately following the Joplin tornado was whether you were ok JoMo. I think you were the first person everyone thought of when they first heard about this tornado. It could be argued it probably was one of the most suspenseful stretches on this weather forum following any severe weather event, but that may be just my opinion and perception.

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If I remember correctly, one of the most suspenseful times here on American Weather Forum during the hours and days immediately following the Joplin tornado was whether you were ok JoMo. I think you were the first person everyone thought of when they first heard about this tornado. It could be argued it probably was one of the most suspenseful stretches on this weather forum following any severe weather event, but that may be just my opinion and perception.

 

Yeah, the worst destruction was just a few blocks away. I was so caught up in everything that was happening that I didn't think to log on to here until power was restored 4 days after the tornado. When I logged on, I was greeted by my private mailbox being filled with people asking if I was ok. That's when I found this thread and posted my first message.

 

I'm not even sure if I properly thanked them now that I think about it.

 

Thanks to everyone that sent me messages and was worried about me. 

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Today's the 5th Anniversary of the Joplin tornado. It's a day to look back and see how far we've come. It's a day to remember those who were lost. Graduation day is here again for Joplin High School students. In addition to graduation, there's a community picnic at Cunningham Park (free food) followed by a memorial service. 

 

I still remember everything very vividly even though it was 5 years ago. I can still recall the day and moments of the tornado as though it were yesterday. I'll never forget the sound of the tornado or the devastation that followed. Looking out at areas you have known for your entire life and not recognizing them anymore is quite an experience. Coming that close to possibly losing your life, or everything you own, brings the sudden shock of your own mortality. Realizing that others were not so lucky brings a sense of sadness. 

 

I don't think I'll ever be able to understand the complete randomness of people losing their lives in a tornado. People who were doing the wrong thing, such as driving a car into the tornado on accident, survived. People who were doing the right thing, such as taking shelter in their basement, died. Even a few feet seemed to make all the difference in some cases on whether people lived or died. 

 

I'll never forget that around 200,000 volunteers came to our city to help. Those volunteers logged over 1.5 million hours of work. Using those volunteers enabled organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Rebuild Joplin to repair and build new homes for those displaced. Habitat for Humanity has built over 105 homes since the tornado. They were averaging around 1-2 homes a year before the tornado. Rebuild Joplin rebuilt or repaired over 180 homes. I will also never forget the first responders, police, fire, who came from everywhere to help in the days after the tornado.

 

The city/state/federal agencies ended up doing a great job when it came down to it. There were problems though. Development along 20th street has been very slow. A lot of that can be blamed on the city hiring a 'master developer' who promised a lot but delivered very little. The 'speculation' of what would be built where, and developers buying up and holding land hoping to get in on increased land prices, caused very little development to happen on 20th street. Personality clashes happened and attempts to shift blame occured, and because of this, the city manager was ousted. Several city council members lost their seat in Joplin's next election. The Joplin School Board suffered a similar fate after citizens expressed concerns about how much was spent on the new schools, some believed they were 'too extravagent', and because of this friction the superintendent ended up retiring and several board members resigned, but all of that is behind us now.

 

The city has largely built back, there are still empty lots that will eventually fill in as time goes on. The injuries people have sustained (both mental and physical), and the loss of loved ones will never be forgotten but for now, we can only look toward the future, while remembering our past, and we can all hope that we don't experience anything like that ever again. I'm proud of what the people of Joplin have accomplished in the last 5 years.

 

This thread contains the history of the past 5 years of Joplin's recovery after the May 22nd tornado. I feel as though it has served it's purpose, both to inform others of what has occurred, and as a form of therapy for me. This is probably the last time I update my little tornado 'journal' here on AmericanWx. I may occasionally bump this thread every year around the anniversary. 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

13227383_10153680657323014_3649505095227

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  • 4 years later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I believe I posted about Louie and Jackson. "Brother" comfort dogs from Immanuel Lutheran Church here in Joplin. They would visit nursing homes, schools, etc... 

They went to places such as Sandy Hook after the school shooting there. Las Vegas after the Mandalay Bay Massacre and Moore, OK after the tornado as well.

In 2016, there was a very bizarre incident where a schizophrenic man shot at the church bus they were in as they were headed to St. Louis for training. Louie was hit in the neck and Jackson suffered a graze to his ear and four of the people in the van were injured as well. The man who did the shooting was just found competent to stand trial last month.

Jackson passed away due to sudden heart attack in 2019.

https://www.immanueljoplin.com/2019/03/remembering-jackson-comfort-dog/

14606289_1511287728898196_19062691970711

 

Louie passed away 2 months ago of a seizure disorder. 

https://www.immanueljoplin.com/2021/03/in-memory-of-louie-comfort-dog/

IMG_1363-scaled.jpg

 

Good boys.

 

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Today marks ten years since the tornado. I'll never forget the sound (the roaring tornado, the constant ambulance sirens), sight (everything looking like a giant landfill, being able to see from one end of the city to the other end due to the lack of trees), and smells (first freshly cut wood and then natural gas) of that day, and the resultant days after that when so many people came to help. I'll never forget seeing the good side of humanity,  people working together, people looking out for their neighbors, and the will and determination to move forward and rebuild. I'll never forget seeing the bad side of humanity as well, the out of town looters, and the "master" development firm that the city hired to rebuild that delivered pretty much nothing. 

Joplin's population has pretty much stayed the same around 50,000 as it has for many years before and after the tornado. The housing stock has been replenished and in some places even exceeds what was there before. A developer that formed after the tornado has packed houses in pretty tightly in some places. That might not be a good thing when it comes to future storms. Only two families out of the original 7 still live in their Extreme Makeover Home Edition houses. Some moved to bigger houses, some moved away, and some didn't like being a tourist attraction and just wanted peace and quiet.

In just a few hours the Joplin Memorial Run (Half-marathon, 10k, 5k) will begin at Cunningham Park where they have placed the banners for the 161 lives lost due to the tornado. An observance ceremony is taking place after that with the former Governor and Mayor speaking. 

Here's some before/10 years after pictures of some areas. Also some other stories about the tornado as well. 

https://www.fourstateshomepage.com/news/local-news/joplin-tornado-before-after-pictures/

But, I'll never forget the lives lost that day, especially the mothers/fathers who lost children. 

 

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12 hours ago, stormdragonwx said:

Crazy to think its been 10 years. I did a video touring the damage path back then. I also made a little tribute.

I took the opportunity to do a little reflecting yesterday in the neighborhood that I took a lot of pictures in and it's so weird thinking back at how it went from houses and mature trees, to total destruction, where it just looked like a giant landfill with the occasional skeleton of a house and twisted, broken, debarked tree trunks sticking up everywhere. After that came the total nothingness after the cleanup before the city allowed building again. It was just nothing but dirt, street, dirt, street for blocks. And then houses started popping up, one by one. And now, ten years later the houses are all finished, and the trees that have been planted are well on their way to maturity. If you didn't know, you would assume that nothing bad had ever happened and that people had just built new houses in the area, like it was a new subdivision.

This appears to be footage from 20th street an hour after the tornado hit. The person that posted it says they've never shared it until yesterday.

 

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On 5/23/2021 at 3:09 PM, JoMo said:

I took the opportunity to do a little reflecting yesterday in the neighborhood that I took a lot of pictures in and it's so weird thinking back at how it went from houses and mature trees, to total destruction, where it just looked like a giant landfill with the occasional skeleton of a house and twisted, broken, debarked tree trunks sticking up everywhere. After that came the total nothingness after the cleanup before the city allowed building again. It was just nothing but dirt, street, dirt, street for blocks. And then houses started popping up, one by one. And now, ten years later the houses are all finished, and the trees that have been planted are well on their way to maturity. If you didn't know, you would assume that nothing bad had ever happened and that people had just built new houses in the area, like it was a new subdivision.

This appears to be footage from 20th street an hour after the tornado hit. The person that posted it says they've never shared it until yesterday.

 

That voice-over is heart-breaking and amazing. The line " I do not know where that is. All the landmarks are gone" is chilling to the core.

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/22/2021 at 12:59 AM, JoMo said:

Today marks ten years since the tornado. I'll never forget the sound (the roaring tornado, the constant ambulance sirens), sight (everything looking like a giant landfill, being able to see from one end of the city to the other end due to the lack of trees), and smells (first freshly cut wood and then natural gas) of that day, and the resultant days after that when so many people came to help. I'll never forget seeing the good side of humanity,  people working together, people looking out for their neighbors, and the will and determination to move forward and rebuild. I'll never forget seeing the bad side of humanity as well, the out of town looters, and the "master" development firm that the city hired to rebuild that delivered pretty much nothing. 

Joplin's population has pretty much stayed the same around 50,000 as it has for many years before and after the tornado. The housing stock has been replenished and in some places even exceeds what was there before. A developer that formed after the tornado has packed houses in pretty tightly in some places. That might not be a good thing when it comes to future storms. Only two families out of the original 7 still live in their Extreme Makeover Home Edition houses. Some moved to bigger houses, some moved away, and some didn't like being a tourist attraction and just wanted peace and quiet.

Hi JoMo, 

I thought about you on the anniversary of the tornado.  It is hard to believe that it has been ten years.  It seems like yesterday.

I don't come on the forums very often, but was browsing it this morning and noticed this thread was still active.  

I hope you are doing well.  I can't imagine the amount of trauma associated with an event like this.  I can only compare it to what I saw after Katrina and Rita.

It is hard to fathom so much destruction and loss of life.

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  • 1 month later...

Absolutely epic thread. The scary thing about this event at this point - in today's realm of increasingly intense short lived events - is that a single EF4 or EF5, or widespread outbreak, is possible in a highly and densely populated area. Seems like just a matter of time. Dallas, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Chicago, one of the larger FL metro areas. 

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On 9/3/2021 at 3:54 PM, GrindOutWins said:

Absolutely epic thread. The scary thing about this event at this point - in today's realm of increasingly intense short lived events - is that a single EF4 or EF5, or widespread outbreak, is possible in a highly and densely populated area. Seems like just a matter of time. Dallas, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Chicago, one of the larger FL metro areas. 

In the past 11 years the St Louis area has experienced an EF4, two EF3s and several EF2s. The Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex has experienced EF3s and 4s in the past 10 years. And Oklahoma City and it's suburbs have been walloped by many tornados. EF5s have either struck OKC directly or slammed the suburbs. And so has multiple EF4s. It's not a matter of time. It's already happened. A lot. 

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