More tornadoes batter US mid-west

Monday 23rd May 2011 by theWeather Club

A new series of tornadoes has torn through parts of the US Midwest, killing at least 30 people in one city alone, and causing extensive property damage across the region. The deaths came from a powerful tornado that ploughed through the south-west Missouri city of Joplin, a town of some 50,000 people, late on Sunday afternoon. “At this point we know we are up into the 30 range,” the Newton County coroner Mark Bridge, confirmed when asked about the deaths. But reports still coming in from affected areas suggest that this number is almost certain to rise.

The storms are a continuation of the violent weather that has been a feature of this year’s spring in the US, which saw over 300 deaths last month alone as tornadoes hit seven states. That included 238 deaths in Alabama on April 27th as tornadoes battered Tuscaloosa and other urban areas. “It's total devastation,” Missouri State Governor Jay Nixon declared as he dispatched the National Guard and emergency rescue teams in a race to find survivors of the Joplin strike. Search-and-rescue efforts were expected to continue throughout the uneasy night. “It's done quite a bit of damage,” a police officer in Joplin told reporters. “It hit quite a few parts of town.”

The same storm system that produced the Joplin tornado spawned tornadoes in other states such as Oklahoma, Kansas and Wisconsin. Tornadoes struck in north-east Kansas on Saturday killing one person and damaging some 200 structures, leading to a state of emergency being declared in 16 counties. Another tornado ripped through the city of Minneapolis in Minnesota on Sunday, tearing roofs off dozens of homes and garages, killing one person and injuring at least 30 others. The tornado struck on Sunday afternoon and ploughed across a 5-8km area in a north-easterly direction, an assistant city fire chief, Cherie Penn, told local news.

It is all part of a period of severe weather that is currently battering the American mid-west. An advisory from the Storm Prediction Centre in Oklahoma, said current warm weather could fuel instability meaning, tornadoes - some very strong - could occur in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.