In the evening of May 22, 2011, an EF-5 multiple vortex tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. The tornado reached wind speeds of 200 miles per hour, carving out a mile-wide path of destruction. The storm traveled eastward, affecting portions of Jasper and Newton counties as well. This extensive tornado was responsible for 158 fatalities, 1,150 injuries, and caused over $2 billion in damage. A week later, on May 29, 2011, President Barack Obama visited Joplin to tour the devastation caused by the tornado and help bring relief to the community. The President was joined by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Senator Clair McCaskill, and FEMA Director Craig Fugate.
One of the hardest hit areas in Joplin was Cunningham Park, which suffered near-complete destruction. In October 2011, a rebuilding effort was underway with local and national support. Not only was the park rebuilt, but it was enlarged, and designed to incorporate various memorials to the people impacted by the tornado.
Subject: Tornadoes; Natural disasters; Joplin, Mo.
Contributing Institution: The Springfield-Greene County Library District
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Photographer: Ben Divin
Photography Date: 2021
Video Credits: National Records and Personnel Administration