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Roger Nomer

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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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A massive tornado that tore a 6-mile path across southwestern Missouri killed at least 89 people as it slammed into the city of Joplin, ripping into a hospital, crushing cars like soda cans and leaving a forest of splintered tree trunks behind where entire neighborhoods once stood.

Authorities warned that the death toll could climb as search and rescue workers continued their efforts. Their task was made more miserable as a new thunderstorm with strong winds, heavy rain pelted part of the city with quarter-sized hail.

City manager Mark Rohr announced the number of known dead at a pre-dawn news conference outside the wreckage of a hospital that took a direct hit from Sunday’s storm. Rohr said the twister cut a path nearly 6 miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town. Much of the city’s south side was leveled, with churches, schools, businesses and homes reduced to ruins.

Jasper County emergency management director Keith Stammer said about 2,000 buildings were damaged, while Joplin fire chief Mitch Randles estimated the damage covered a quarter or more of the city of about 50,000 people some 160 miles south of Kansas City. He said his home was among those destroyed. (AP)

Joplin Tornado

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Emergency workers wait for a medical team after finding a body in a tornado ravaged car in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

Joplin Tornado

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Rescue workers in lime-green jackets search for bodies and survivors inside St. John's hospital in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. The hospital was damaged by a tornado that destroyed nearly 30 percent of the city on Sunday afternoon. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Adam Wisneski) #

Joplin Tornado

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A destroyed helicopter lies on its side in the parking lot of the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city, damaging the hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) #

Joplin Tornado

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Emergency personnel walk through a neighborhood severely damaged by a tornado near the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) #

Joplin Tornado

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A shelf cloud containing a thunderstorm approaches a tornado-ravaged neighborhood in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital, hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

Joplin Tornado

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Jean Logan reacts as she sees the damage to her home in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011 after it was damaged by a tornado that destroyed nearly 30 percent of the town on Sunday afternoon. Logan and her granddaughter rode out the storm in the laundry room. The twister cut a six-mile path through the city. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Adam Wisneski) #

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A man carries a young girl who was rescued after being trapped with her mother in their home after a tornado hit Joplin, Mo. on Sunday evening, May 22, 2011. The tornado tore a path a mile wide and four miles long destroying homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mike Gullett) #

Joplin Tornado

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A residential neighborhood in Joplin, Mo., is seen Monday, May 23, 2011 after it was leveled by a tornado that destroyed nearly 30 percent of the town on Sunday afternoon. The twister cut a six-mile path through the city. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Adam Wisneski) #

Joplin Tornado

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A tractor trailer is tipped over on Interstate 44 near Joplin, Mo., after the town was hit by a tornado on Sunday, May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Jaime Green) #

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Don Atteberry, 89, crawls over a rail at his home that was severely damaged by a tornado in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

Joplin Tornado

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A pickup truck with what looked like two rescue workers and two injured people weaves in and out of traffic to get to Freeman Hospital West in Joplin, Mo. after the town was hit by a tornado on Sunday, May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Jaime Green) #

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Damage to St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo. is shown after it was hit by a tornado on Sunday, May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Jaime Green) #

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The wall of a home in Joplin, Mo. is seen Monday, May 23, 2011, after it was damaged by a tornado that destroyed nearly 30 percent of the town on Sunday afternoon. The Joplin twister was one of 68 reported tornadoes across seven Midwest states over the weekend, stretching from Oklahoma to Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.(AP Photo/Tulsa World, Adam Wisneski) #

Joplin Tornado

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A hand-written note to rescue workers is seen on a house that was damaged by a tornado that destroyed nearly 30 percent of Joplin, Mo., on Sunday afternoon. The twister cut a six-mile path through the city. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Adam Wisneski) #

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A cross stands atop a church that was severely damaged by a tornado in Joplin, Mo., as a severe storm passes overhead Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital, hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

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Damaged vehicles litter the parking lot of St. John's Hospital in Joplin, Mo, after a tornado hit the southwest Missouri city on Sunday evening, May 22, 2011. A massive tornado blasted its way across southwestern Missouri on Sunday, flattening several blocks of homes and businesses in Joplin and leaving residents frantically scrambling through the wreckage. (AP Photo/Mike Gullett) #

Joplin Tornado

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Storm clouds dwarf a farm near Lamar, Mo. as the sun sets Sunday, May 22, 2011. The storm earlier produced a large tornado moved through much of Joplin, Mo., damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

Joplin Tornado

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An emergency vehicle drives through a severely damaged neighborhood in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

Joplin Tornado

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Don Atteberry, 89, surveys damage at his home that was severely damaged by a tornado in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

Joplin Tornado

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A man carries a young boy who was rescued after being trapped in his home after a tornado hit Joplin, Mo. on Sunday evening, May 22, 2011. The tornado tore a path a mile wide and four miles long destroying homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mike Gullett) #

Joplin Tornado

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The damaged St. John's Regional Medical Center is seen in the distance through tornado debris in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging the hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

Joplin Tornado

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An emergency worker searches a Walmart store that was severely damaged by a tornado in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

Joplin Tornado

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Emergency vehicles line up along northbound Rangeline Road in Joplin, Mo. after a tornado swept through the city in Joplin, Mo. on Sunday evening, May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/The Joplin Globe, Roger Nomer) #

Joplin Tornado

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A neighborhood in Joplin, Mo., is seen Monday, May 23, 2011, after it was leveled by a tornado that caused heavy damage on Sunday afternoon. The twister cut a six-mile path through the city. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Adam Wisneski) #

Joplin Tornado

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An emergency worker carries a girl to safety from the remains of Academy Sports in Joplin, Mo. after a tornado struck the city on Sunday evening, May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/The Joplin Globe, Roger Nomer) #

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Volunteer firefighters William Jackson, left, and Ashley Martin, center, from Oklahoma, and Johnny Ward of Joplin look through the wreckage of a home where it was feared a pregnant woman as feared to be trapped following a tornado in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. The three did not find anyone during their search. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) #

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Destroyed vehicles are piled on top of one another in the parking lot of the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city, damaging the hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) #

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Rescuers and neighbors look through the the wreckage of destroyed homes on a hillside in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) #

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News crews and homeowners sort through the rubble of a residential neighborhood Monday, May 23, 2011, in Joplin, Mo., after it was leveled by a tornado that caused heavy damage in the town on Sunday afternoon. The twister cut a six-mile path through the city. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Adam Wisneski) #

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Residents of Joplin, Mo, help a woman who survived in her basement after a tornado hit the city on Sunday, May 22, 2011. The tornado tore a path a mile wide and four miles long destroying homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mike Gullett) #

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A large tornado moved through much of Joplin, Missouri, Sunday, May 22, 2011, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (Mike Ransdell/Kansas City Star/MCT) #

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A large tornado moved through much of Joplin, Missouri, Sunday, May 22, 2011, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (Mike Ransdell/Kansas City Star/MCT) #

Joplin Tornado

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Residents salvage items from their home which was severely damaged by a tornado in Joplin, Mo., as a severe storm passes overhead Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital, hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

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An overturned car lies on the foundation of a home near St. John's Regional Medical Center on May 23, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. A powerful tornado ripped through the densely populated town of Joplin yesterday killing at least 89 people. (Photo by Julie Denesha/Getty Images) #

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A tree stripped of bark and leaves still stands near St. John's Regional Medical Center on May 23, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. A powerful tornado ripped through the densely populated town of Joplin yesterday killing at least 89 people. (Photo by Julie Denesha/Getty Images) #

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Destroyed homes and debris cover the ground as a second storm moves in on May 23, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. A powerful tornado ripped through the densely populated town of Joplin yesterday killing at least 89 people. (Photo by Julie Denesha/Getty Images) #

Joplin Tornado

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Janet Martin attempts to salvage medication and mementos from her brother's home before a second storm moves in, on May 23, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. "Twenty minutes before the storm, he left to go to church. He would have been in that basement if he hadn't gone," Martin said. A powerful tornado ripped through the densely populated town of Joplin yesterday killing at least 89 people. (Photo by Julie Denesha/Getty Images) #

Joplin Tornado

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Nurse Susan Dillard, in white, hands off medical records to fellow nurse Holly Ansley as they sift through the rubble of their employer, Access Home Health, in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A destructive tornado moved through the city on Sunday evening, killing at least 89 people and injuring hundreds more. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) #

Joplin Tornado

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A firefighter walks along a street as he conducts search and rescue operations in a neighborhood that was severely damaged by a tornado in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

Joplin Tornado

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Rescue workers walk through a neighborhood destroyed by a tornado Monday, May 23, 2011, in Joplin , Mo. A massive tornado that tore a six-mile path across southwestern Missouri killed at least 89 people as it smashed the city of Joplin, ripping into a hospital, crushing cars like soda cans and leaving behind only splintered tree trunks where entire neighborhoods once stood. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) #

Joplin Tornado

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Rescue specialists Gerry Koeneman, right, and Lonnie Stockdale of the Springfield, Mo., fire department walk through the heavily damaged lobby of the medical records building at the St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A destructive tornado moved through the city on Sunday evening, killing at least 89 people and injuring hundreds more. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) #

Joplin Tornado

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Tom Cravens of the Pryor, Okla., Police Department looks through the rubble of a destroyed home near the St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A destructive tornado moved through the city on Sunday evening, killing at least 89 people and injuring hundreds more. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) #

Joplin Tornado

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The remains of homes and St. John's Regional Medical Center, rear, the day after a tornado struck Joplin, Mo., May 23, 2011. The twister, which touched down Sunday evening, killed at least 90 people and spread its destruction over a wide swath of the town, ripping apart buildings and cars and touching off fires. (Patrick Fallon/The New York Times) #

Joplin Tornado

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Sara Thomas, right, talks with a passerby in the aftermath of tornado that destroyed Joplin, Mo., May 23, 2011. The twister, which touched down Sunday evening, killed at least 90 people spreading its destruction over a wide swath of the town, ripping apart buildings and cars and touching off fires. (Patrick Fallon/The New York Times) #

Joplin Tornado

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A podium sits idle following a press conference in the aftermath of a tornado that destroyed Joplin, Mo., May 23, 2011. The twister, which touched down Sunday evening, killed at least 90 people spreading its destruction over a wide swath of the town, ripping apart buildings and cars and touching off fires. (Patrick Fallon/The New York Times) #

Joplin Tornado

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Tim Slocombe and his son, Eliajah, 16, raise an American flag on a tree the day after a tornado struck Joplin, Mo., May 23, 2011. The twister, which touched down Sunday evening, killed at least 90 people and spread its destruction over a wide swath of the town, ripping apart buildings and cars and touching off fires. (Patrick Fallon/The New York Times) #

Joplin Tornado

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Tim Slocombe looks over debris for survivors, with St. John's Regional Medical Center in the distance, the day after a tornado struck Joplin, Mo., May 23, 2011. The twister, which touched down Sunday evening, killed at least 90 people and spread its destruction over a wide swath of the town, ripping apart buildings and cars and touching off fires. (Patrick Fallon/The New York Times) #

Joplin Tornado

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The neighborhood to the west of St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri, is seen Monday, May 23, 2011, the day after it was hit by a tornado. (Jaime Green/Wichita Eagle/MCT) #

Joplin Tornado

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People retrieve their belongings in a home near the St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri, Monday, May 23, 2011, the day after it was hit by a tornado. (Jaime Green/Wichita Eagle/MCT) #

Joplin Tornado

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The neighborhood to the west of St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri, is seen Monday, May 23, 2011, the day after it was hit by a tornado. (Jaime Green/Wichita Eagle/MCT) #

Joplin Tornado

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An exterior view of St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri, is seen Monday, May 23, 2011, the day after it was hit by a tornado. (Jaime Green/Wichita Eagle/MCT) #

Joplin Tornado

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During a severe weather alert which forced the medical volunteers and patients to the basement of Memorial Hall in Joplin, Missouri, Monday, May 23, 2011, certified nurses assistant Nancy Metzger, center, helped console Margaret Mosley, whose home was destroyed in the tornado Sunday evening in Joplin, Mo. Margaret's husband, William, at lower left, was treated with 17 stitches from the tornado. Memorial Hall was the site for triaging injuries from the tornado. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT) #

Joplin Tornado

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While her Joplin, Missouri home was completely destroyed, Amy Jump, lower, her husband and three children all survived the tornado which devastated Joplin on Sunday evening. Here, Jump is emotional as she and her neighbors sift through the rubble Monday morning, May 23, 2011, looking for salvageable items and photos. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT) #

Joplin Tornado

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Waiting for a severe thunderstorm to pass through Joplin, Missouri, on Monday morning, May 23,2011, William Mosley sat on the steps of Memorial Hall in Joplin as patient care associate Spencer Davidson held his IV bag as treatment for the injuries that Mosely suffered during the destruction of his home Sunday evening. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT) #

Joplin Tornado

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Matt McReynolds worked on sawing large branches off of a fallen tree at the home of his co-worker, Dr. Jay Farr, of Carlson Chiropractic Center, Monday morning, May 23, 2011, in Joplin, Missouri, following the tornado Sunday evening which destroyed a massive part of Joplin. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT) #

Joplin Tornado

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As day began to break and before another thunderstorm moved through the area, residents of the city of Joplin, Missouri, began to take stock of the damage and salvage a few items, Monday, May 23, 2011. (Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star/MCT) #

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