The devastation in Joplin, MO is remarkable. The Red Cross is now reporting that the massive tornado that tore through the town last night annihilated over 70 percent of the city. The death toll has now climbed to 89. That number, however, is expected to rise.
The twister ripped into a hospital, crushed cars like soda cans, and left a forest of splintered tree trunks behind where entire neighborhoods once stood.
Rescuers looking for survivors and bodies have a difficult task ahead of them as the weather remains unstable. For example, a new thunderstorm today, with strong winds and heavy rain, pelted part of the city with quarter-sized hail.
City manager Mark Rohr announced the number of known dead at a pre-dawn news conference outside the wreckage of a hospital that took a direct hit from Sunday's storm. Rohr said the twister cut a path nearly 6 miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town. Much of the city's south side was leveled, with churches, schools, businesses and homes reduced to ruins.
Jasper County emergency management director Keith Stammer said about 2,000 buildings were damaged, while Joplin fire chief Mitch Randles estimated the damage covered a quarter or more of the city of about 50,000 people some 160 miles south of Kansas City. He said his home was among those destroyed.
Below are five incredible videos showing the twister and the utter devastation:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.