Demolition is officially underway at St. John's Mercy Hospital, after taking a devastating blow from the May 22 tornado that ravaged Joplin, Mo.
The tornado pillaged the area, destroying the hospital, surrounding homes, businesses and schools and killing more than 160 people.
"It was truly like a war scene. There was so much destruction and devastation. You could barely get down some roads," Gary Pulsipher, president of St. John's Mercy Hospital said.
The demolition is slated to take six weeks, as officials ruled out the possibility of imploding the buildings. Beneath the hospital lay lead mines that date back 200 years.
Despite the immense destruction from the tornado, some of the hospital was salvageable. Prior to demolition, which began on Sunday, officials dug through the wreckage for anything that survived the twister. Recovered memorabilia includes stained glass, marble, memorial plaques, bibles, artwork and a 4-foot-tall wooden cross that once hung in the emergency department waiting room.
Many of the salvaged items will be relocated to the new hospital site which will be built roughly 3 miles from its former location.
The new advanced care hospital will offer medical, surgical and critical care, labor delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms, neonatal and pediatric intensive care and cancer care. It is scheduled to open in 2015.
"Eight months later, it's amazing to see the recovery. There are very few structures that haven't been attended to across Joplin. While we still have a long way to go, Joplin has made incredible progress," Pulsipher said.
Photo of St. Johns Mercy conceptual design from prweb.com
According to the site mercy.net, Mercy is now investing $1 billion in rebuilding the healthcare of the Joplin community. "Though the tornado took our hospital, it did not destroy our spirit," the site reads.
Gifts are being accepted to the Rebuild Mercy Fund through the Mercy Health Foundation Joplin.
Dry and sunny conditions will continue in San Francisco for the the official start to winter and the Christmas holiday.
Sunshine will return in full force for the weekend, the official start to winter, and Christmas in Los Angeles.
Big changes are on the way for parts of the Western and Central states late this week and into this weekend.
Similar to the days prior to Thanksgiving, the worst weather will focus on the days prior to Christmas as millions of travelers take to the roads and skies in the U.S. and southern Canada.
Warm air is forecast to surge into much of the eastern half of the nation by the weekend and will be accompanied by heavy rain and flooding risk in some locations.
Thunderstorms in parts of the South this weekend may become strong enough to threaten lives and property.
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