Joplin Hit Again with Severe Weather; Death Toll Still Rising

May 25, 2011; 6:58 AM ET
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Residents begin digging through the rubble of their home after it was destroyed by a tornado that hit Joplin, Mo. on Sunday evening, May 22, 2011. The tornado tore a path a mile wide and four miles long destroying homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mike Gullett)

"The Joplin, Mo., tornado not only ranks in the top 10 of deadliest U.S. tornadoes, but it also holds the dubious distinction of being the deadliest since 1953."

The Joplin, Mo., tornado now ranks among the ten deadliest tornadoes of all time.

At least 17 people have been pulled from the rubble safely and there's no telling how many more are still buried.

On Tuesday evening, the area was again threatened with severe weather. A tornado warning was issued for a time in Joplin and surrounding areas. The storm-ravaged town avoided another direct hit, as the supercell moved north of Joplin.

However, powerful thunderstorms roared through the city through the night.

As of early Wednesday morning, the death toll stood at 124, although search and rescue teams are holding out hope that they can find more survivors.

The Joplin, Mo., tornado not only ranks in the top 10 of deadliest U.S. tornadoes, but it also holds the dubious distinction of being the deadliest since 1953.

Despite the tragic loss of life, amazing stories of survival are emerging. At least one man was pulled from a collapsed building after sending a text message of his location to his friend from his phone.

On Monday, rescue crews worked in pouring rain and thunderstorms as more severe cells headed their way. For much of the day winds gusted past 25 mph, making search conditions miserable and dangerous. Meanwhile, two more inches of rain soaked the already soggy ground.

Two police officers assisting with tornado relief were struck by lightning, according to local news sources. Their injuries and condition were unknown.

The tornado was bumped up to an EF-5, as winds were found to be more than 200 mph by the survey team.

Much of the cities infrastructure was severely damaged in the intense storm. The local hospital, school, and many businesses were destroyed, leaving the south-side of town unrecognizable. Joplin School District has already had to cancel classes for the rest of the year.

Local officials are asking sightseers to stay away from the town in the fear they may interfere with the work of the first responders.

Moving forward, clean-up will remain difficult today as another round of severe weather takes aim at the region. Forecasters are warning of a significant tornado threat.


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