According to a report later put out by the City of Joplin, the storm damaged or destroyed 7,500 residences and 500 businesses, displaced 9,200 people, affected 5,000 employees and generated 3 million cubic yards of debris.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the tornado affected a significant part of the city. Because of the rarity and historical significance of this event, Joplin became a test study for the NWS, since it was confirmed there had been ample warning prior to the event. This included tornado sirens that went off at all locations along with TV, radio, and social media warnings. Although many people took shelter wherever they could, many did not.
My Second on the 2nd post looks back at this chilling tornado with photos that show St. John's Regional Medical Center. The above photo shows how the force of the storm carried the life flight helicopter off the roof of the hospital, crushing it into the ground. I was quite concerned because before moving to Wichita, KS, I lived in and still own a home in a suburb of Joplin. The opening statement below sounds much like what I've gone through off and on since mid-May of this year. Here is my post from May 25, 2011 in its entirety.
I've battled high winds, hail, thunder, lightening, and rain for the past day and night, so turned my computer off. When I finally turned it back on a couple of hours ago, I found these images from one of my friends, who took these photos with her cell phone. All photos are from St. John's, but I have no idea how she got access to the building.
This is one of the side yards at St. John's Regional Medical Center. I doubt there are any windows left in the building.
Above you can see part of the administration building and how the windows are blown out of the inner offices.
This is one of the waiting rooms.
This is the outdoor cafeteria. It just goes to show the quirky nature of tornadoes. The iron railing is twisted like a piece of licorice, several of the concrete columns around the building are rubble, but the wooden fence, gate, and trees in this court yard are standing and undamaged.
Not only did the tornado take or uproot everything, the rain entering through the windows and ceilings kept the building in water most of yesterday, allowing the mold to grow among the mud and debris. At this point, structural engineers are determining if the building is safe. This hospital may never recover.
Of course, it was probably one of the safer places to be last Sunday. Note the trees are barren in the above photo, but there are leaves in the photo two images up.
You wouldn't have been safe if you stood in this chair's path. I was told this is not a rotated photo. Instead, the chair is lodged in the wall.
I appreciate my friend sending these photos. The destruction is unreal, and that is just the building! Imagine all the lives that were affected in this hospital.
As an aside, after I posted this in 2011, I learned that the building's foundation was compromised. I learned the existing hospital was structurally unsafe and was eventually demolished. Temporary buildings were constructed nearby. One week after the tornado, St. John's (now known as Mercy) announced they would rebuild.
And rebuild they did. To the highest standards, in fact. During construction designers placed their emphasis on building a structure that could withstand a high-end tornado from the top down. Hurricane-rated precast concrete makes up the hardened exterior of reinforced brick and stone. The windows are all custom designed and the first of their kind. Since most of the windows were destroyed in the original hospital, perfecting tornado-strength windows was a prime focus. The glass had to pass rigorous tests and wasn't approved until it could stop the penetration of a two-by-four.
The rooms and utilities are laid out to keep the hospital running in the middle of an emergency. Protected areas were built in to every floor, and the operating rooms were moved to underground levels. Water, back-up generators, and a fuel tank are located in a bunker-like protected structure, where all pipes and cables run underground to the hospital. The underground cables come from two separate directions. Two lines of water, power, and data communication come into the hospital from different directions in case one fails. St. John's reopened as Mercy Joplin in March, 2015 and is now considered one of the safest hospitals in the U.S. during emergencies and disasters for its structural and functional integrity as outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Since I have met and interacted with many internet readers, friends, and followers since the above 2011 blog post went live, I thought it was timely to share it again.
So now it's time to share your Second on the 2nd. The rules are quite simple. All you have to do is bring back a post that you are especially proud of, one that is relevant to current events, or one you shared before anyone knew your blog existed. Then link below and Bleubeard and I, along with other Second on the 2nd friends, will be by to visit. If you are new to Second on the 2nd, and your blog post permits only GOOGLE+ responses, I (and several others) can´t comment on your entry. It's all in the way you set up your blog responses.
Please be aware this link is only open for five days, so it's best to post sometime on the 2nd.