Tornado slams into Joplin, Missouri

At 5:41p.m. Sunday a 3/4-mile wide tornado sat down three miles southwest of Joplin, Mo. and plowed through the town. 

Seven miles later it lifted. In it's wake - a death toll at 116 (and expected to rise) and more than 1,000 people injured. 

Joplin was changed forever.

Search and rescue dogs and crews are still franticly searching for survivors. Monday's efforts were hampered by several waves of showers and thunderstorms.  

It was reported that two rescuers were hit by lighting on Monday. I was tracking our severe weather and saw at least two strong cells move through the area.

"It came without warning." No, not this one. 

The National Weather Service sent out the warning 20 minutes before the tornado struck. Local media were on the air telling people to take cover now. Most did, but despite that there was a lost lives. 

Damage survey teams from the National Weather Service have rated the deadly tornado as an EF4 with winds between 190 and 198 mph. They commented that further surveys would take place Tuesday, and the rating could go higher.

Joplin High school was demolished. Students had just completed commencement ceremonies at a nearby facility. Several said the death toll would have been much higher had the students been at their destroyed school.

The character of people is shown during times of crisis.

We saw that first hand here in Oklahoma. Following tornadoes in Pitcher and Tushka people responded. And now in Joplin, it's not just neighbors reaching out to neighbors - it's people who have never stepped one foot in the southwest Missouri city that are responding.

In the days and weeks ahead, there will be blood drives, food collections, fund raising concerts and other ways you can pitch in. There will be an outpouring of response from neighboring states, including Oklahoma. The people of Joplin are going to need a lot of help. Money, supplies, equipment to help clear roads and so much more will be needed.  

Volunteers from churches and civic clubs will invade the town in the next few days and weeks. Joplin will survive and thrive. The people there are hearty, smart, and resilient. They will pull together and work to clean up and rebuild this amazing place. I think that "can do" attitude will rebuild the town much stronger that before Sunday's storm.
As I was writing this, the late night repeat of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 was on. Anderson was interviewing Joplin Mayor Mike Woolston. 

What he said caught both me and the host off guard. He said, "This is not the type of community that is going to let an F4 tornado kick our ass!"  Anderson, and I, paused. You may not like the mayor's language, but he made his point.

I'm looking forward to pitching in and doing what I can to help. How about you?

Tell us below in our comments section how you have or how you plan to help.

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