More than 520 people have been killed in tornadoes in the United States so far this year, making it the deadliest since 1936.
Between April 25 and 28, what has now been dubbed the 2011 Super Outbreak caused the deaths of 317 people in Alabama and seven other states. Then on May 22, Joplin, Missouri was devastated with 138 people being killed.
According to some estimates, up to 75% of the city of 50,000 was damaged, with around 2,000 buildings destroyed. One relief worker described the devastation as ‘unimaginable’, and when President Obama visited Joplin, he said it was the worst destruction he had ever seen, calling the scene ‘heartbreaking’, but he promised government help to rebuild the city.
Scientists put the strength of the tornado at the top of the scale used to measure them. (See also my blogs of April 18 and May 24.)