Tornado Kills 3 on Eighth Anniversary of America's Deadliest Twister

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Photo: AP

Eight years ago, the deadliest tornado in U.S. history wreaked havoc on the 50,000-person city of Joplin, Missouri, killing 161 people. On Wednesday night, city residents had to relive the fear of that day as more than two dozen tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma and Missouri, one touching down near Joplin.

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Three deaths have been confirmed in Missouri, according to a tweet from the state public safety office. A death in Oklahoma is being investigated as potentially weather related. Several others were injured.

Government officials are still assessing the level of damage, but state buildings suffered as a tornado tore through the state capital, Jefferson City, at 40 miles per hour. Now, the immediate threat is the floodwaters rising as a result of the accompanying heavy rain.

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The Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers are all seeing “major flooding,” which could have implications far beyond Missouri and Oklahoma. The storm is heading east, so forecasters expect Baltimore and Pittsburgh to be most at-risk for “bad weather,” reports the AP.

The madness began over the weekend when the South got hit with some tornadoes. Then, the forecast grew gray over Texas and Oklahoma Monday. By Wednesday, the severe weather had set upon Missouri. The forecast shows that thunder, hail, a whole lot of rain, and maybe even more tornadoes could continue into Friday.

All this flooding and destruction come at the heels of a wet winter and spring throughout the Midwest. This new outpour of rain likely won’t help those already struggling to rebuild.

Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

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DISCUSSION

intertiaticmusic
empyreandance

The Joplin tornado, while tragic, was not the deadliest in U.S. history. That was the Tri-State tornado on March 18, 1925, which killed 689. The Natchez, Mississippi tornado of May 7, 1840, officially killed 317 people, but that toll may be much higher, as slave deaths frequently weren’t counted.