The death toll from one of the country’s worst single tornadoes on record has topped 160.
Jasper County, Missouri Coroner Rob Chappel said Thursday that 85-year-old J.T. Strickland died July 8th at a Monett nursing home of injuries he suffered in the powerful Joplin EF-5 tornado on May 22nd.
The overall death toll includes Riverside Police Officer Jeff Taylor who died from injuries sustained May 23rd as he was responding to the disaster and was struck by lightning.
The Joplin tornado is one of six EF-5 tornadoes confirmed so far this year and the deadliest single United States tornado in more than 60 years and or since 1947, when looking at offical records since 1950 and unoffical records before 1950.
Single U.S. deadliest tornadoes based on unofficial records
1. 18 March 1925 Tri-State (MO/IL/IN) 695
2. 06 May 1840 Natchez, MS 317
3. 27 May 1896 St. Louis, MO 255
4. 05 April 1936 Tupelo, MS 216
5. 06 April 1936 Gainesville, GA 203
6. 09 April 1947 Woodward, OK 181
7. 22 May 2011 Joplin, Missouri ***160***
According to the National Weather Service, the Joplin tornado was as violent as a tornado can get, developing into multivortex tornado with smaller more intense tornadoes orbiting the larger one, a very rare occurrence, as it tracked 22 miles across parts of the city, reaching up to one mile wide, just after 530 pm CDT on a Sunday evening on May 22nd.
It is believed the winds in spots along the tornado’s track reached up to 250 mph.
An estimated 8,000 structures were damaged or destroyed along the tornado’s path with damage estimates exceeding $1 billion dollars. Large box stores like Walmart and Home Depot were also totally destroyed.
Numerous vehicles of various sizes and weight including buses and truck trailers were tossed over 200 yards to a few blocks with some crushed beyond recognition. Other vehicles were compressed and wrapped around trees, and some were rolled into balls.
More than 1,000 people were injured in the tornado, with an unknown number still hospitalized or rehabbing from their injuries.