What a night last night. And what a day today. Unless you live under a rock, you should know by now that Joplin, Missouri, was leveled by a devastating tornado Sunday night. As of this evening, the death toll was 116 -- making it the deadliest tornado in United States history since 1953.
Here in McDonald County, 40-odd miles southeast of Joplin, we were under a tornado warning for about three hours. Somehow, we missed the hail, high winds and tornadoes and only got rain, thunder and lightning. We are now flooded in (again) with more rain on the way. But it doesn't seem right to complain, when we are safe and sheltered here with food, water, electricity. Internet and television, even! (Although my local channels disappeared around 5 p.m. today and I missed the House season finale. Again, can't complain -- that's what reruns are for!)
I was in Joplin Saturday afternoon to stock up on paper for scrapbooking night at church and a few things for my upcoming "grrrls Hangover weekend." (Inside joke; we are NOT planning on having actual hangovers, just seeing the movie.) It's hard to believe that many of the places I drove by on Range Line Road are gone -- Home Depot, Academy Sports and WalMart. The hospital where a friend's baby was born 5 (or was it 6!?) years ago is the one that took a direct hit. Several people I know have lost everything, while others are fine with minimal property damage. Facebook has been quite amazing, with people checking up on each other, tracking down friends via other people's pages, and pages set up to coordinate recovery efforts.
If you can help via services or money, do it! If not, keep the Joplin people in your prayers, as well as the search and rescue folks, law enforcement officers and medical personnel etc. who are out there trying to find more survivors despite some downright nasty weather. God bless them all.