2011 Tornadoes: Most Deadly U.S. Twisters Since 1950

"A volunteer delivers bottled water and snacks to a family whose home on Empire Avenue near West 26th Steet in Joplin, Missouri was destroyed by an F4 tornado the ripped through the city on 22nd May, 2011."

The AP reported this weekend that 2011 has already had tornadoes kill more people in the U.S. than in any year since 1950. At least 139 people have been killed in Joplin, MO and 100 are still missing. In total, at least 520 people have been killed by tornadoes in the U.S. this year.

The Joplin tornado also injured approximately 900 people.

Identifying the deceased is not so easy in such circumstances and officials have had to revise their methods. “After a mistake immediately after the storm — four people thought they had identified one person’s body, only to be wrong — authorities are relying instead on dental records, photos and unique tattoos or piercings, Bridges said. They’ve also used DNA tests in a handful of cases,” Newton County coroner Mark Bridges said, according to the AP.

“We learned the hard way at the start,” he said. “It’s bad for the families.”

"Rescue crews search the rubble of a home whose structure had collapsed into its basement foundation on Bird Avenue near West 26th Street in Joplin, Missouri. The area was badly damaged when an F4 tornado ripped through the city on 22nd May, 2011. No victims were found."

As I’ve reported previously, we are seeing an unusually high number of tornadoes this year, even in the midst of ongoing increases in confirmed tornado activity in recent years.

“There have been 1,333 preliminary tornado reports in the U.S. through May 27, officials said, while the average number of confirmed tornadoes in a single year during the past decade has been 1,274.”

Is there a link between tornadoes and climate change? Read these three pieces from myself and others for more on that:

  1. Are Tornadoes & Climate Change Linked?
  2. Joplin disaster spurs media whirlwind on link between climate change, extreme weather, and tornadoes
  3. A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!

More Tornado Stories on Planetsave:

  1. Tornado Imagery Caught On Camera
  2. Tornado Storm Aftermath: Alabama ‘Left Bruised and Bleeding’
  3. Joplin, Missouri to Get Hit with More Tornadoes Today?

Photos & Captions via BabyBare11









About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.