Update: the death count has risen to 116, making it the most-deadly single tornado in 60 years, the AP reports.
On Sunday, a tornado cut a nearly half-mile wide path through six miles of the city of Joplin, Missouri, killing at least 89, and heavily damaging 2,000 buildings. One of the hardest hit locations was one of the city's hospitals, St. John's Medical Center (pictured below), where the tornado directly hit the center, blew out its windows and severely damaged the building.
According to the Joplin Globe, Associated Press, and CNN, rescue teams are still tentatively sorting through the rubble trying to avoid fires sparked by broken natural gas lines. Missouri Gov. Nixon has already declared a state of emergency and dispatched 100 National Guard troops to the residential and commercial areas most affected by the twister. In a quote to the AP, the principal of the now "flattened" Joplin High School appraised the damage in unequivocal terms:
"You see pictures of World War II, the devastation and all that with the bombing. That's really what it looked like...I couldn't even make out the side of the building. It was total devastation in my view. I just couldn't believe what I saw."
Sunday night shot from a Reuters photographer of a damaged home in a severely hit neighborhood:
Residents survey the aftermath:
The parking lot of St. Johns Hospital:
The heavily-damaged Academy Sports Building: