Joplin Tornado

David Starrett

Rob O’Brian is President of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, and today has an update on the City’s 531 businesses destroyed or severely damaged or destroyed by an EF-5 tornado which tore through the town May 22, 2011 killing 161 persons. O’Brian says of the businesses and the 5,000 job slots affected by the tornado, 90% are back in business and back to work. “The status of Joplin’s business community is very dynamic. The thing we have seen is about 160 new businesses come into Joplin. So pre tornado, we are up month over month about 1,000-1,500 jobs more than pre tornado.”

Two years to the day that an EF-5 tornado ripped through Joplin, killing 161 people, the city was greeted with near perfect weather, as thousands came out Wednesday to honor the lives of those lost, and reflect upon the continuing recovery effort. KSMU’s Scott Harvey was there.

Crews are continuing to sift through the rubble of Monday’s deadly tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma.  It’s another reminder for residents in Tornado Alley of the benefits of a storm shelter. But as KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, this comes months after the ideal time to purchase one. 

“These come in about any size you can imagine. Anywhere from as small as the customer might want it, 3’ x 4’, all the way up to 8’ x 24’, and then if people want them bigger than that we modulate them together,” Olsen says.

For Carol Stark, the images of the May 22, 2011 tornado that devastated Joplin are still fresh. As editor of The Joplin Globe, she and her team worked tirelessly to inform the public in the days, weeks, and months after the event, despite nearly a third of the paper’s employee’s homes destroyed by the storm. As KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, the documentary highlighting the Globe’s efforts to put out a paper amidst the destruction still serves as an emotional rollercoaster for Stark and her staff.