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UPDATE: Tornado kills unknown number in Joplin

Sunday, May 22, 2011 | 8:44 p.m. CDT; updated 9:15 a.m. CDT, Monday, May 23, 2011

JOPLIN — Tornadoes ripped through parts of the Midwest on Sunday, killing at least one person in Minneapolis and an unknown number of others in Joplin, where a hospital was damaged.

Damage was widespread across the south side of Joplin. John Campbell, operations director for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, confirmed fatalities have been reported, but he did not yet have an exact number or specifics.

Phone communications in and out of the city were largely cut off.

The storm was part of a series that battered the Midwest on Sunday night. Tornado warnings and watches were posted from Texas to Michigan.

In Minneapolis, city spokeswoman Sara Dietrich said the death was confirmed by the Hennepin County medical examiner. She had no other immediate details. Only two of the 29 people injured there were hurt critically.

In Wisconsin, a powerful storm caused significant damage in La Crosse, tearing roofs from homes and sending emergency responders to search damaged buildings for anyone trapped inside, officials said. La Crosse County sheriff's dispatcher Tim Vogel described the damage as "significant" but told The Associated Press there were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

Those storms followed a tornado Saturday night that swept through a small eastern Kansas town, killing one person and destroying at least 20 homes, as severe thunderstorms pelted the region with hail that some residents described as the size of baseballs, authorities said Sunday.

Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Sharon Watson identified the victim as Don Chesmore, 53, of Reading. He was in a mobile home that flipped. He was taken to a hospital in Emporia, where he was pronounced dead.


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