Saturday 24 February 2018

Midwest steels itself for another series of deadly tornadoes

A woman walks past a car stuck in a tree after a tornado in Oklahoma
A woman walks past a car stuck in a tree after a tornado in Oklahoma

Elliott Blackburn in Joplin, Missouri

EVEN as the death toll in America's worst ever tornado reached 125 last night there was more bad news on the way.

As emergency services reported that the number of deaths from from a monster tornado that devastated the town of Joplin had reached 125, tornadoes in nearby states caused at least 13 more deaths.

A "major tornado outbreak" is expected to develop in the central US states surrounding the area where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers meet, according to the US Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service is currently tracking two storms capable of producing tornadoes in western Missouri, including Kansas City. A tornado watch, meaning the deadly storms may develop, was issued from Missouri to Indiana, including Indianapolis and St Louis.

Bulldozers pushed through rubble in Joplin and search teams pressed through a six-mile-long path of destruction looking for survivors and more victims. At least 823 people were injured by the tornado that hit on Sunday, and an estimated 1,500 remain missing. Eight died in Oklahoma, while Arkansas officials confirmed three deaths, and two deaths were confirmed in Kansas from a line of several tornadoes that roared across the Midwest.

As the storm system moved eastward, Arkansas, northern Mississippi, southern Illinois and Indiana were at the highest risk for devastating tornadoes on Wednesday, according to

The Joplin tornado was rated an EF-5, the highest possible on the Enhanced Fujita scale of tornado power and intensity, with winds of at least 200 miles per hour (328 km/ph).

About 10,000 people spent the night at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport where golfball-size hail was reported. Two hundred flights were cancelled Tuesday night and another 100 on Wednesday, while 61 flights scheduled to land at the airport were diverted.

Irish Independent

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