By: Brian Evans

As a survivor of the EF5 Joplin, Missouri tornado that hit on May 22nd, 2011, I know that the slightest gestures, the kindest words, and the slightest bit of help can not only bring tears but can inspire Americans to push forward with a tenacity to keep going! In fact, I still remember walking through the rubble in my neighborhood, and throughout what appeared to be a war-torn town, as I was not being able to tell where I was at any given moment, despite having been at those location hundreds of times! Regardless, for several days, I was able to hold in the tears, hide my sorrow, and muster up the strength to move forward. Most everyone I knew asked how I couldn’t be shaken! But, for many like myself, strength was a mere facade, as I bottled up the feelings of desperation and sorrow that I held deep within myself, like so many other Joplin residents, and like so many survivors of natural disasters! That was until something triggered all the pinned up grief, the fear of the unknown, and the utter mental exhaustion! Therefore, now when I see Americans who have suffered the same tragic loss, I sympathize! However, one thing I can say is that my family was fortunate, not to have lost anyone! After all, although material things are precious to each and every American, they are all replaceable, but human life is not.

Now, just 8 years later to the day, another tragedy struck the Joplin area, as our brothers and sisters on the northern edge of our city, and all the way up through Golden City, and onto Jefferson City, our State Capitol, suffer the same horrendous tragedy that lies in my memory from 2011!

The tornado caused tremendous damage to Carl Junction, into Webb City, and Golden City, as it carved a path of devastation throughout the state, and into the heart of Missouri! Sadly, as of Friday morning, three lives were lost in Golden City, with dozens trapped inside their homes and businesses throughout the path of destruction!

Ryan Stewart posted a video of the tornado, as it traveled through Carl Junction, Missouri…

 

Also, a montage of the after-effects of the tornadoes crossing the state…

The following was the news coverage, just following the exit of the tornado from Carl Junction, Missouri…

The following is some of the damage left behind, in the wake of the tornado last night…

The Joplin Globe reported that…

The storm that spawned an apparent tornado fired up in Ottawa County, according to the National Weather Service, then touched down near Baxter Springs and Galena in Kansas, and then in Carl Junction and Oronogo, but no injuries were reported before it moved into Barton County.

Keith Stammer, Jasper County emergency management director, confirmed tornado damage in Carl Junction and Oronogo, before noting late Wednesday night that there was still a strong possibility of more storms overnight. “This is pretty much an all-night deal.”

Officials with Liberty Utilities-Empire District, as of about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, reported that almost 4,000 customers were without power because of storm damage. Crews are working throughout the night to restore power, according to a post on the company’s Facebook page.

The Globe went on to detail the devastation to Joplin’s northern suburb in Carl Junction, as they said that…

Briarbrook residents in Carl Junction reported extensive damage to trees and homes because of the storms. After the sirens of emergency vehicles gradually faded, the buzzing of chain saws filled the air as residents and emergency personnel began cutting up trees and limbs covering the roadways. Others surveyed the area to find out the extent of the damages.

Emergency personnel in Briarbrook had not reported any injuries as of about 9 p.m., but said they’re continuing to check houses. While conducting search and rescue, law enforcement closed down the area from any outside traffic because of dangerous power lines and debris covering the roadways.

The newspaper detailed the damage assessment in Oronogo, Missouri, which is northeast of Joplin…

Chris Carriger, Oronogo emergency management director and police chief, posted on Facebook that emergency crews continue to conduct damage assessment of the area. He posted that there have not been any reports of injuries or significant structural damages, but there are downed trees and power lines, so be cautious.

Newstalk KZRG revealed that…

Among the dead in Golden City was Kenneth and Opal Harris, a couple in their 80’s. They were found about 200 yards from their home on South East 80th Lane. 56-year-old Betty Berg was also killed when that tornado ravaged her mobile home on East State Route 126. Her husband was seriously injured.

In Carl Junction, Fire Chief Joe Perkins estimates about 100 homes were damaged, the majority of the damage was confined to the Briarbrook neighborhood. No fatalities, and only minor injuries reported described as scraped and bruises.

Meanwhile, as Emergency Management works to assist those devastated by the tornado, flooding is becoming a problem across the state. In Joplin and the surrounding area, the Joplin Globe reported that…

flash flooding and river flooding will continue to be a problem Thursday as area residents begin cleaning up from tornadoes and storms Wednesday night.

Flood warnings have been issued for Shoal Creek and Spring River in Jasper and Newton counties, with minor and moderate flooding predicted. Major flooding is forecast for the Marmaton River in Vernon County.

The Redings Mill Fire Protection District reported that Shoal Creek has risen 4 feet in the past four hours, and is currently at 15 feet, according to a Facebook post. It is forecasted to reach 16.8 feet at about 1 p.m. Earlier Thursday, it was predicted to fall below flood stage on Friday afternoon.

Firefighters with the district are notifying residents in the area, advising them about voluntary evacuations.

The Joplin Globe also noted that…

For the Spring River near Waco, flood stage is 19 feet; the river was 24.5 feet early Thursday morning. The National Weather Service says the river will reach 25.8 feet and fall below flood stage Saturday morning.

For the Spring River near Baxter Springs, Kansas, flood stage is 14 feet. The river Thursday morning was at 23.5 feet and is expected to rise to 23.9 feet before falling below flood stage on Saturday.

At Carthage, flood stage is 10 feet for the Spring River; the river was at 11.9 feet early Thursday. The river is expected to crest at 12.3 feet and fall below flood stage on Friday.

The Marmaton River in Nevada was already at 29.6 feet early Thursday morning; flood stage is 20 feet. The river is expected to rise to 32.9 feet by midnight, causing major flooding for that area. It is not expected to fall below flood stage until Monday.

Ultimately, as reports emerge from the aftermath of the tornado, it is painting a picture of devastation, courage, perseverance, and miraculous survival! In fact, it is amazing that there were not more deaths, considering the destruction! However, more could be announced in the coming hours and days, as emergency management continues to dig out survivors from amongst the debris. Missouri Governor Mike Parsons signed a disaster declaration and then traveled to view the destruction, starting with Briarbrook, in the Carl Junction, Missouri area Thursday morning.

 

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