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Tornado among state's deadliest


With the death toll expected to top 100, the tornado that devastated Joplin on May 22 will rank among the most lethal in Missouri history.

The deadliest tornado outbreak in Missouri killed 152 people in central and southwestern Missouri when eight tornadoes struck on April 18, 1880, according to Pat Guinan, state climatologist with University of Missouri Extension's Commercial Agriculture program.

The state's deadliest single tornado, a category F-4 with wind speeds up to 260 mph, killed 137 people and injured 800 in St. Louis on May 27, 1896.

In March 1925, a tornado touched down in southeast Missouri and traveled 219 miles through Illinois and part of Indiana. The "Tri-State Tornado" left almost 700 confirmed fatalities in its wake, making it the single deadliest tornado in U.S. history.

According to Guinan, Missouri sees an average of 32 tornadoes each year, with 70 percent of them appearing between March and June.

To avoid being caught by surprise, MU Extension emergency management specialists recommend that households purchase a NOAA weather radio, which provides timely and frequent alerts during severe weather conditions. If a weather radio is not an option, people should stay informed of weather conditions by tuning into local radio and television stations, and to take all severe weather watches and warnings seriously.

For links to disaster-related resources from MU Extension, including publications, news, feature articles and videos, see http://bit.ly/MUExtDisasterResources.

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