Joplin records 159th death from May tornado

JOPLIN, Missouri - UPDATE: 07-08-2011 | The death toll from the May 22 tornado that struck Joplin has risen to 159.

UPDATE: 06-22-2011 | Joplin officials were notified of an additional death due to injuries sustained during the tornado on May 22. This brings the fatality total to 156.

UPDATE: 6-21-2011 | (AP) The death toll from the May 22 tornado that devastated Joplin has risen to 155.

City officials say 88-year-old Edmon A. Cooper died last Thursday from injuries he suffered in the tornado.

According to his obituary in The Joplin Globe, Cooper was a retired mechanic and an Army veteran of World War II. He is survived by a son, a daughter, a brother, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

UPDATE: 06-18-2011 | (AP) The death toll in Joplin has risen to 154 people with the death of a man injured in last month's tornado.

Joplin city spokeswoman Lynn Onstot identified the victim as James Cookerly. She says she doesn't have details about where or when he died.

UPDATE 06-13-2011 | Joplin city officials say two more fatalities have been reported from the tornado that devastated the southwest Missouri city last month.

Lynn Iliff Onstot, public information officer for Joplin, said as of Monday there were 153 fatalities from the tornado. Onstot said the city received the updated list from the Jasper County coroner and the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

The death toll from the May 21 tornado, the nation's deadliest tornado in more than six decades, stood at 151 on Friday.

UPDATE  06-06-2011 | Officials in Joplin said on the city's website Sunday that the three additional people died recently from their injuries, bringing the total number of fatalities from the EF-5 tornado to 141.

UPDATE 05-28-11 | (AP) The city official told the Associated Press Saturaday evening the official death toll stands at 139, down three from earlier updates on Saturday. The official did not provide a reason for the revision. See more updates from Saturday here .

UPDATE 05-27-11 | (AP) - The death toll from the savage tornado that tore through Joplin, Mo. has climbed to 132, according to city spokeswoman Lynn Onstot.

UPDATE 05-26-2011 | The death toll from the massive tornado that devastated the southwest Missouri town of Joplin now stands at 126.

Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr announced the updated figure to reporters Thursday after meeting with residents and government officials about plans to offer assistance to victimized residents.

More than 900 people suffered injuries in Sunday's tornado, now considered the nation's single-deadliest in six decades.

UPDATE 05-25-2011 | The death toll from the massive tornado that leveled parts of the southwest Missouri city of Joplin now stands at 125.

Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr also told reporters Wednesday evening that a third day of search and rescue efforts had not found any new survivors amid the debris.

Rohr says that roughly 100 people are reviewing information about people reported missing in the storm's wake. He says they're making progress in sorting through the list of names, but declined to say how many people remain "unaccounted for."

Authorities have said previously it is impossible to know exactly how many people are missing, but have cautioned that those unaccounted are necessarily trapped or dead. In fact, they believe most are OK.


JOPLIN, Missouri (AP) - The massive tornado that tore through Joplin, Mo. is now officially the deadliest single U.S. twister in nearly six decades with a death toll of at least 122.

City Manager Mark Rohr announced the new death toll Tuesday evening, saying 750 people also were injured in Sunday's tornado.

Officials say nine people have meanwhile been recovered from debris and an intensive search and rescue effort will continue.

The twister is the deadliest single tornado since the National Weather Service began keeping official records in 1950. But the service says it has researched events before then and that Joplin has seen the 8th-deadliest single twister in U.S. history.

Federal officials estimate about 8,000 structures were damaged.

LINK | Look for loved ones in Joplin at

More deaths have resulted from outbreaks of multiple tornadoes. On April 27, a pack of twisters roared across six Southern states, killing 314 people, more than two-thirds of them in Alabama. That was the single deadliest day for tornadoes since the National Weather Service began keeping such records in 1950.

The agency has done research that shows deadlier outbreaks before 1950. It says the single deadliest day that it is aware of was March 18, 1925, when tornadoes killed 747 people.

Sunday's killer tornado ripped through the heart of Joplin, a blue-collar southwest Missouri city of 50,000 people, slamming straight into St. John's Regional Medical Center. The hospital confirmed that five of the dead were patients -- all of them in critical condition before the tornado hit. A hospital visitor also was killed.

The tornado destroyed possibly "thousands" of homes, Fire Chief Mitch Randles told AP. It leveled hundreds of businesses, including massive ones such as Home Depot and Walmart.

Speaking from London, President Barack Obama said he would travel to Missouri on Sunday to meet with people whose lives have been turned upside down by the twister. He vowed to make all federal resources available for efforts to recover and rebuild.

"The American people are by your side," Obama said. "We're going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every neighborhood is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet."

Craig Fugate, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told NBC's "Today" show Tuesday that Obama has declared a disaster in the area, which means residents are eligible for his agency's assistance.

"We're here for the long haul, not just for the response," Fugate said.

Much of Joplin's landscape has been changed beyond recognition. House after house was reduced to slabs, cars were crushed like soda cans and shaken residents roamed streets in search of missing family members.

The danger was by no means over. Fires from gas leaks burned across city. The smell of ammonia and propane filled the air in some damaged areas. And the forecast looked grim.

The April tornadoes that devastated the South unspooled over a three-day period starting in the Plains. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said a repeat could be setting up, with a possible large tornado outbreak in the Midwest on Tuesday and bad weather potentially reaching the East Coast by Friday.

"This is a very serious situation brewing," center director Russell Schneider said.

Early Tuesday, the center said there was a moderate risk of severe weather in central and southeast Kansas and southwestern Missouri, which could include Joplin. It raised the warning for severe weather in central Oklahoma, southern Kansas and north Texas to high risk indicating that tornadoes will hit in those areas.

The Storm Prediction Center also issued a high-risk warning before the deadly outbreak in the South in April.

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