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Missouri Southern State University

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One year ago, the small town of Joplin, Missouri, was devastated by an EF5 Tornado. A mile-wide multiple-vortex tornado, with estimated winds peaking at 362 to 402 km/h (225 to 250 mph), tore through the area on May 22, destroying more than 7,000 houses, killing 161 people, and injuring hundreds more. The task of rebuilding is underway, but the scale is daunting -- a year later, Joplin still has an eight-mile scar running through its middle. Gathered here are images of the town on this somber anniversary. [See also, Tornado Ravages Joplin, Missouri, from last year.] [30 photos]

A tall steel cross is refracted in raindrops on a window in Joplin, Missouri, on May 7, 2012. The cross is all that was left standing of St. Mary's Catholic Church, which was destroyed by an EF-5 tornado that tore through a large swath of the city and killed 161 people nearly a year ago. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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A deadly spring continued in the American South and Midwest as more tornadoes cut swaths of destruction through Missouri and Minnesota. The death toll in Joplin, Mo. was near 100 and expected to rise. As much as 30 percent of the town was damaged. In Minneapolis, a tornado killed one resident as it caused heavy damage and led to school closures and a curfew. The death toll from 2011 tornadoes stands now at 455, the deadliest year for tornados since 1953. -- Lane Turner (24 photos total)
Residents begin digging through the rubble of their home after it was destroyed by a tornado that hit Joplin, Mo. May 22. The tornado tore a path a mile wide and four miles long destroying homes and businesses. (Mike Gullett/AP)

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