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.”
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:
- Are Tornadoes & Climate Change Linked?
- Joplin disaster spurs media whirlwind on link between climate change, extreme weather, and tornadoes
- A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!
- Tornado Imagery Caught On Camera
- Tornado Storm Aftermath: Alabama ‘Left Bruised and Bleeding’
- Joplin, Missouri to Get Hit with More Tornadoes Today?
Photos & Captions via BabyBare11