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Recovery efforts in Joplin continue with more storms forecasted

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon talk with police outside Saint .John's Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Missouri on May 23.
(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon talk with police outside Saint .John's Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Missouri on May 23.

Updated at 5:16 p.m. with gallery of aerial photographs from msnbc.com.

Updated at 4:29 p.m. with information on multi-vortex designation from the National Weather Service.

The New York Times brings us this update this afternoon on the continuing situation in Joplin:

About 1,500 people are unaccounted for in this battered city, a Fire Department official said Tuesday, as rescue workers took advantage of a few hours of sunny weather to continue searching for survivors in buildings leveled by the country’s deadliest tornado in more than 60 years.

As of 1 p.m. today, The Missouri State Emergency Management Association, or SEMA, lists the death toll at 117 people, and that number could climb.

According to the Associated Press, the National Weather Service says the tornado appears to have had more than one vortex. Storm Prediction Center director Russell Schneider says video evidence shows Sunday's tornado appeared to be a rare "multivortex" twister.

Multivortex tornadoes contain two or more small and intense subvortices that orbit the center of the larger tornado circulation. Schneider says multivortex tornadoes are relatively uncommon but have been seen in massive storms like the one that ripped through Joplin.

Even as recovery efforts continue, more storms are expected in the Joplin local forecast, and there's currently a flood warningfor Jasper County in Missouri - including a creek near Joplin.

This morning, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon joined Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate to survey the damage from the air from a National Guard helicopter - this gallery from MSNBC.com of aerial photographs may give you a good idea of what they saw.

The group then continued their tour on the ground.

“You get a sense of devastation through pictures, but in person the scope is overwhelming. I can’t imagine the pain of families who’ve lost loved ones,” McCaskill said in a statement.

How to Help:

Other ways for you to see the challenges Joplin faces and their recovery:

Video from the ground

Springfield resident Mark Young traveled through Joplin on his way to survey the damage to his office. Take the drive with him by pressing play below:


Interactive Photo Map

The Springfield News-Leader put together this interactive photo map of Joplin's tornado damage: