Joplin Tornado

In the late afternoon of May 22, 2011, an EF5 multiple-vortex tornado struck Joplin, Mo. Reaching a maximum width of over one mile and with winds peaking at more than 200 mph, the tornado destroyed or damaged virtually everything in a six-mile path.

The devastating tornado claimed 161 lives, making it one of the single deadliest U.S. twisters since 1953. The Joplin tornado was only the second EF5 tornado to strike Missouri since 1950. It was the seventh-deadliest tornado in U.S. history and the 27th-deadliest in world history.


Immediately following the disaster, emergency responders began search and rescue efforts, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol sent dozens of troopers to the area. That same night, Gov. Jay Nixon deployed Missouri National Guard Citizen-Soldiers to Joplin.

Joplin High School tornado damage

At 5:41 p.m. on May 22, 2011, a massive EF-5 tornado ripped through Joplin, destroying or damaging 8,000 homes and buildings and claiming 161 lives.