Joplin tornado nation's deadliest in more than 60 years

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | 8:17 p.m. CDT; updated 11:08 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 24, 2011
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Maps of the deadliest tornadoes to hit Missouri and the U.S., with descriptions of rankings by the Fujita scale of tornado intensity.

COLUMBIA — Joplin’s tornado disaster twisted its way into the United States' top-10 deadliest tornadoes.

With a death toll of 122 and counting, the tornado, which flattened parts of Joplin, is now the eighth-deadliest single tornado in U.S. history. The No. 8 spot used to be held by the tornado that swept New Richmond, Wis., on June 12, 1899, claiming 117 lives, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's website.

Joplin's tornado is the worst the country has seen in more than 60 years, according to the NOAA. On April 9, 1947, a tornado struck Woodward, Okla., and killed 181 people.

According to the National Weather Service, Joplin has also claimed the No. 2 spot of deadliest tornadoes in Missouri, which used to be held by the "Marshfield Tornado." That storm took place 131 years ago and took 99 lives.

Here is a list of the deadliest tornadoes in the history of Missouri, according to Jim Kramper, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service in St. Louis:

  1. St. Louis city (May 27, 1896): 136 deaths
  2. Joplin (May 22, 2011): 118 and counting.

  3. Greene and Webster counties — known as the Marshfield Tornado (April 18, 1880): 99 deaths.

  4. Butler and Ripley counties (May 9, 1927): 93 deaths.
  5. St. Louis city (Sept. 29, 1927): 72 deaths.
  6. Jackson County (May 20, 1957): 37 deaths
  7. Adair County (April 27, 1899): 34 deaths.
  8. McDonald, Barry, Stone, Christian, Greene, Webster, Wright counties — known as the Finley Creek Tornado (April 18, 1880): 31 deaths

  9. St. Louis city and county (Feb. 10, 1959): 21 deaths
  10. Pemiscot (May 21, 1952): 17 deaths.

Below is a a list of the deadliest tornadoes in the history of the United States according the NOAA's website.

  1. Tri-State — Missouri, Illinois and Indiana (March 18, 1925): 695 deaths.
  2. Natchez, Miss. (May 6, 1840): 317 deaths.
  3. St. Louis, Mo. and East St. Louis, Ill. (May 27, 1896): 255 deaths.
  4. Tupelo, Miss. (April 5, 1936): 216 deaths.
  5. Gainesville, Ga. (April 6, 1936): 203 deaths.
  6. Woodward, Okla. (April 9, 1947): 181 deaths.
  7. Amite, La., and Purvis, Miss. (April 24, 1908): 143 deaths.
  8. Joplin (May 22, 2011): 118 and counting.
  9. New Richmond, Wis. (June 12, 1899): 117 deaths.
  10. Flint, Mich. (June 8, 1953): 116 deaths. 

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