May 22, 2011 2 Comments ›› Angelia
(Joplin, MO) — A Sunday afternoon tornado in Joplin, Missouri has killed at least one person and injured many more.
The National Weather Service reports buildings have been leveled, and the regional medical center was directly in the path of the storm and has suffered heavy damage.
Portions of the top of St. John’s Hospital were sheared off. There are concerns about an explosion at the medical facility.
Springfield-based ambulances and EMS workers are being sent to St. John’s in Joplin, where the west tower was struck by a tornado.
Around 5:30 p.m. a multi-vortex tornado was reported near 13th and Rangeline Road with reports of damage to numerous trees and houses.
Ambulances can be seen around the entrance to the facility as some patients are being relocated.
A nearby gas station has been flattened, and a convenience store has been reduced to its foundation.
Dazed residents are on the streets of the neighborhood, helping some into wheelchairs, crying and hugging each other, and working with police and firefighters as they begin the process of accounting for everyone.
About two miles southeast of Joplin, the neighborhood at 22nd and Blackcat road saw massive damage to homes and trees, with people trapped in debris.
There are also reports of the Home Depot, Payless Shoes, Walgreens, and Pizza Hut being heavily damaged in that area.
Between mile markers 10 and 12 on I-44, there were reports of trees stripped of bark and more than 20 semi trucks and cars overturned.
The National Weather Service also reported a tornado on the ground just north of Pierce City around 6:30 p.m. and a possible tornado on the ground near Freistatt at 6:40 p.m.
Structures were reported damaged on Highway 97 north of Pierce City.
Power poles were reported down across Highway V and the highway was ruled impassible with tornado damage.
Storms have hit more than nine states, and watches and warnings continue into the early morning hours in some areas.