Top: The scene in Joplin one year ago. Maddie Meek, 9, and her mother Dina Meek salvage what they can from her sister-in-law’s home after it was destroyed when a massive tornado struck.
Center-left: Marilyn Sixx, right, hugs her son, Chris Sixx, during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of last year’s tornado in Joplin, on May 22, 2012.
Center-right: Joplin firefighters bow their heads during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that killed 161 people in Joplin, on May 22, 2012
Bottom: A tall steel cross is refracted in raindrops on a window in Joplin, Missouri, on May 7, 2012. The cross is all that was left standing of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, which was destroyed by an EF-5 tornado that tore through a large swath of the city and killed 161 people nearly a year ago.
See more. [Images: Getty, AP]
Over the course of five days last week, more than 150 tornadoes were reported across a dozen states. Belonging to two separate weather systems, they left enormous trails of wreckage strewn across the southern United States and Ohio River Valley and took the lives of 39 people. At least two of the tornadoes were given the severe rating of EF4, with sustained winds of between 267 and 322 kph (166 - 200 mph). Many residents have now returned to their damaged farms and neighborhoods to search for items that may have survived the storms, assess the damage, and plan their next steps. The images in this collection show the ferocity of these forces of nature and the fragility of even the strongest man-made structures.
Sadly, are we getting tornado fatigue?
Last night’s storm that passed through Massachusetts had devastating effects not seen in this area in many years. Here’s our latest story from the wires.
PHOTO: The damage to One Stop Towing is seen after Wednesday’s tornado ripped through Brimfield, Massachusetts. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)
Today we revisit the devastation left by a massive system of tornadoes and storms that struck Alabama almost three weeks ago, on April 27th, 2011, claiming nearly 250 lives in the state alone. Photographer Julie Dermansky recently visited some of the hardest-hit regions, looking for stories about what’s next for them and finding signs of abiding faith and patriotism. Dermansky went to some of the areas that were hit by F-4 and F-5 tornadoes, including Tuscaloosa and the Birmingham suburbs: “Crews from around the country are out in force, clearing debris and fixing power lines in deathly still neighborhoods,” she writes. “American flags and religious messages punctuate apocalyptic landscapes.”
See more inspiring photos at In Focus