1,500 Still Missing In Joplin, Missouri After Tornado

The news from Joplin, Missouri just seems to get worse:

JOPLIN, Mo. — About 1,500 people are unaccounted for in this battered city, a Fire Department official said Tuesday, as rescue workers took advantage of a few hours of sunny weather to continue searching for survivors in buildings leveled by the country’s deadliest tornado in more than 60 years. At least 117 people have died.

While the number of those unaccounted for is alarmingly high in a city with only 49,000 people — and raises the specter of a far higher death count — it may merely be a reflection of the widespread breakdown of communication systems here in the wake of Sunday’s vicious storm. Many residents who fled ahead of the tornado or survived it may be unable to notify the authorities or family members who have reported them missing.

Capt. Robert Daus of the Maryland Heights Fire District, who is helping to lead a team of about 100 St. Louis-area firefighters in search and rescue operations in Joplin, said that in addition to the 1,500 people who remain unaccounted for, an additional 500 had been injured by the tornado, which cut a three-quarter-mile-wide path through this southwestern Missouri city and damaged as many as 30 percent of its buildings.

While much of Tuesday provided a respite from the nearly unrelenting rain and wind that had hampered rescue efforts, more challenging weather may be on the way. An unusually strong weather system moving east across the Rockies is expected to mix with moist air heading north from the Gulf of Mexico, carrying with it the possibility of creating severe storms late Tuesday.

“We are expecting some violent storms to develop across Kansas and Oklahoma today bringing rain, hail and the risk of tornadoes that could move into the Joplin area this evening,” said Doug Cramer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “This is a very good set up for very big tornadoes.”

Indeed, because as I type this there are one or more large tornadoes in the vicinity of Oklahoma City:

A large tornado touched down Tuesday and advanced on communities northwest of Oklahoma City, snapping power poles, overturning vehicles and injuring motorists, officials said.

Canadian County Emergency Management Director Jerry Smith told CNN there were reports of a large tornado crossing I-40 near El Reno and heading toward Calumet and metropolitan Oklahoma City.

The storm has injured an unspecified number of motorists on Interstate 40 and U.S. 81, Smith said. Deputies were attending to the injured, and there were reports of property damage in the area.

The tornado pushed into Concho and Piedmont and was bearing down on Edmond, just north of the capital.

“This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation,” the National Weather Service said.

Tornado warnings were issued in Oklahoma County, Canadian County and Grady County, indicating other twisters had touched down. Tornadic winds were spotted near Chickasha, southwest of the capital.

Stay safe guys.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Hey Norm says:

    It’s a lucky thing for the people in joplin and oklahoma that 100% of the peer-reviewed science on climate change is faked. Because if the weather extremes predicted by the fake science was real these folks would be f’ed. I’m pretty sure this weather is just because of them homosexuals.

  2. Linnette says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated. My cousin was one of the first casualties found. I have a lot of family and friends there. I’m out of state. It’s helpful to find good sources keeping up on things.

  3. Linda says:

    there’s so much to be thankful for if you were not one of the people who were in Joplin. May God be with each and everyone of them. we should all in some way try to help with the disaster.

  4. Linda says:

    My other comment goes out to Norm who posted on Tuesday the 24th at 18:42. You really need to Thank God for the breath you breathe. Those people in Joplin are flesh and blood just like you. And for you to make a comment like you did, you need to hang your head in shame. I’m pretty sure your mouth has gotten you in trouble before hasn’t it?

  5. Brad says:

    Hey Norm, I guess global warming was responsible for the tornado outbreaks in the 1950’s and 1974 as well, right? I guess some folks will believe anything. Two words for you: El Nino.

  6. Valerie says:

    Norm…. I am from Joplin MO.. and have been out in the sun, rain, wind, and lightening for the last three days digging through rubble. I have watched as my community has had at least a third of our homes.. numerous people missing or deceased, and probably a half or better of our businesses taken in a blink of an eye. Our whole town and surrounding towns have been effected by this storm tremendously. I am sitting here with a heavy heart because there are actually people like you making stupid comments such as the one you wrote on the web…. but, do you know what I do???? We will survive as a whole.. we will be a great town once again.. and we have awsome people working day and night to help find the missing, to help dig through the splinters to give someone back an item or two of their own, people are volunteering to cut down trees in everyones yards, feeding and giving water to the people that are working, firemen.. police.. and ems workers from counties I have never heard of…… all to help our town…………. It is complete and utter devastation. And you want to make fun of us because???? It just goes to show how childish you are… not us.

  7. Valerie says:

    Linda… we can use all the prayers we can get! They are much appreciated.. the power of prayer is an awsome thing! We got hit hard tonight with another heavy storm but the tornadoes disappeared outside joplin this evening. I was one of the fortunate ones that still have a home to go to. But, we all consider ourselves pretty lucky to be alive right now. We still have a little over 1500 missing… please pray for their safe return….. Thanks

  8. john personna says:

    I’ve heard in the past that it’s just luck that big tornadoes had missed big cities. Or odds rather than luck (most of the land is not big cities, so a few big tornadoes randomly placed are not in cities). Very, very, sad that the long odds have turned up.

    (BTW, you really have to be a total dick to go for the global warming line in this thread.)

  9. PD Shaw says:

    I’d always heard that cities have a way of disrupting funnel formation, either because of increased heat generated by pavent, etc., or nearby rivers and lakes. The last tornoado to hit where I live did appear to exhibit a skipping motion, where it started to penetrate the city, dispersed, and “re-appeared” on the far side of the city.

  10. chris smith says:

    Hey Valerie , my prayers are with all in this time of devastation and pain. God has a plan and while it feels so desperate he has all in his hands. We must all come together and pray and find a way to reach out. God Bless everyone in Joplin and surrounding communities

    Valerie if u want try to get in contact with me


    many thanx