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.
Several storms will bring periods of rain and gusty winds to the west coast of the United States next week with the potential for one of these to reach Southern California.
A dramatic change to colder weather, and in some cases a taste of winter with snow, will take place this weekend.
Rain will continue to cause travel delays and raise the risk of isolated flooding in parts of the northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada into the weekend.
The changing of the seasons will bring beneficial rainfall to northern Brazil, a region that has experienced severe drought over the past several years.
Damaging storms pounded the Pacific Northwest, while two powerful typhoons struck the Philippines within a four-day span.
Typhoon Haima made a second landfall in southeastern China on Friday after leaving at least 13 dead in the northern Philippines.
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