The death toll from the nearly-mile wide tornado that flattened Joplin, Missouri on Sunday is expected to rise to over 100 people. And as rescue teams continue to tentatively probe the damaged area, authorities have estimated that 30 percent (2,000 buildings) of the city was damaged, including one of the city's hospitals--which was directly hit.
As the disaster comes into focus, we noticed some widely-circulated, striking amateur videos illustrating the harrowing experience and aftermath. The three we've noted below includes a view from tornado chasers, a group who huddled in a convenience store in the twister's path, and daytime aerial footage of city taken from an iPhone in a helicopter. If you see more, send them to us, and we'll add:
Huddling Inside a Store
Other than the occasional lightning-flashes, it's hard to see what's going on in a video that's been described by multiple outlets as the "most frightening" early take from Joplin. While we hear from the clip that the 18 residents are waiting out the tornado, when it hits (about two minutes in) it's hard to describe the panic as anything other than disturbing. Local station WBTV relays that the people in the video, which was taken on a cell phone, retreated into the store's walk in freezer.
View of the Twister From a Tornado Chasing Vehicle
"Listen to it!" was one of the first audible responses uttered by the apparent tornado chasers in this video first posted on Tornadovideos.net. The vehicle and cameraman struggle to follow the fast-moving, enormous twister's path from a highway before lightning strikes right as the clip ends. "I got it all on video!" the unnamed narrator yelled.
Aerial iPhone Footage of Joplin From a Helicopter
It's the exact opposite from the cramped, storefront video. It's a silent (other than the helicopter's roar) clip giving an overview of the occasional fire and wreckage strewn about from the nearly-mile wide tornado that hit the town. From the helicopter's window, it looks like many of the buildings were torn down to their foundation.