Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More on Our Visit to Joplin Yesterday

We rolled in to Joplin just before sunset yesterday.  The scene was indescribable.  I don't know how else to put it.  The damage to property was astonishing.  While I continue to be saddened by the staggering death toll, I am utterly floored that the loss of life wasn't greater.  Unless you were in an underground shelter, you would have no chance to survive a tornado of this magnitude (which, granted, is extremely rare).  Fortunately, most of the homes we saw up close had basements.  The foundations above many of them had been completely or partially wiped clean.

I figured we'd be restricted to the main roads and get an "outside looking in" kind of view, but once we told the officers who we were and what we were doing, they let us in the neighborhoods.  I can't even begin to describe the feeling standing in the middle of that neighborhood off of 22nd and Main Street.  I could literally turn around for 360 degrees and see nothing but total destruction.

I am uploading this from the truck and don't have all of the tools I would normally have back home, so I'll mainly just be posting the photos for now and will come back after I return and add some notations on to some of them.

As the saying goes, pictures speak 1,000 words, so I'll shut up now and load them (click, of course, to enlarge):

I have to put a note on these next few photos.  This is (was) a 2 story brick home.  It was literally picked up and shifted 8 feet off of its foundation.  You'll see that in the detail photos below the first one....

In the photo below, the gentleman (his name is Sam) in the blue t-shirt was walking down the steps of what was left of his home.  As you can see, it is completely gone (except for the brick that made up part of his front porch.  He dove into his basement just before the tornado hit.  Had he not done that, I would not have had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing his story yesterday evening.  I will be making an additional post about Sam within a few days.

The final photos below show what is left of the high school....

Again, I am truly amazed at what I saw yesterday evening.  There will be more to follow in the coming days...

For more on the Joplin tornado event, click here to return to the table of contents post, which contains a chronological listing of all related posts, and will be updated with new links as additional posts are made.

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