Another tornado possible for Joplin area, Weather Service says
Chad Lunt of the Kansas City Fire Department searches through the rubble Monday in Joplin, Missouri.
May 23rd, 2011
09:31 PM ET

Another tornado possible for Joplin area, Weather Service says

As residents in hard-hit Joplin, Missouri, try to recover from one of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes on record, the National Weather Service warns the danger might not be over.

The weather service warns there was a 45% chance of another tornado outbreak - with the peak time between 4 p.m. and midnight Tuesday - over a wide swath, including parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska and Missouri, including Joplin.

Monday night, the weather service said, "A large cluster of thunderstorms is currently affecting portions of Missouri."

Earlier Monday, an armada of government agencies had converged on the Joplin area to assess the damage and stage the difficult days ahead.

As weather conditions deteriorated, agency workers sifted through rubble searching for survivors.  The death toll - 116 as of Monday night - matched the record number of dead in a twister that struck Flint, Michigan, on June 8, 1953.

Overheard on CNN.com: Obama visits Ireland, sips pint of Guinness
President Obama's visit to Ireland created quite a stir among CNN.com readers.
May 23rd, 2011
08:05 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Obama visits Ireland, sips pint of Guinness

Sipping a pint of Guinness and receiving an almost royal welcome, President Barack Obama made a big splash in Ireland. CNN.com readers debated Obama's motives for the trip, whether the festivities were appropriate after the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, and discussed the proper drinking of stout beers. They also made plenty of "O'Bama" jokes.

Comment of the day:

"Sure and President Barry O'Bama is in the Ould Sod where his great-great-great-grandfather came from! All joking aside, at the time of President Obama's ancestor's arrival in the States, there was almost as much prejudice against the Irish as there was against blacks. The fact that the Irish were able to integrate into society following the Germans and Dutch, and preceding the Italians and Slavs, bode well for our country. Those peoples did have a major advantage in their skin color – something that was not available to help the blacks, Asians and Native Americans. That Barak Obama – a mixed-race individual – won our presidency shows how far America has come in the last 150 years." – Firebaron

FULL POST

Smoke seen rising from Gadhafi compound after airstrikes
May 23rd, 2011
07:44 PM ET

Smoke seen rising from Gadhafi compound after airstrikes

NATO aircraft made more than a dozen strikes on the Libyan capital early Tuesday, and smoke could be seen rising from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's Bab-al-Azizia compound in Tripoli.

More on fighting in Libya


Filed under: Libya
Palestinian prime minister suffers heart attack in U.S.
May 23rd, 2011
06:06 PM ET

Palestinian prime minister suffers heart attack in U.S.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad suffered a heart attack while visiting the United States and was hospitalized for treatment, according to a spokesman from the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank.

Fayyad felt chest pains Sunday while visiting Austin,Texas, for his son's graduation from the University of Texas, Dr. Ghassan Khatib said from Ramallah early Tuesday.

FULL STORY
SI.com: Bosh proves his worth
Miami Heat center Chris Bosh goes in for the dunk over a herd of Chicago Bulls on Sunday night. Bosh scored 34 in the victory.
May 23rd, 2011
03:01 PM ET

SI.com: Bosh proves his worth

If Sunday night was any indication of what the Bulls have to contend with for the remainder of the Eastern Conference finals, now may be a good time to start worrying.

Chris Bosh put up an impressive 34 points in Miami's 96-85 win over the Bulls and showed he has much more to offer than just his strength on defense. As SI.com's Ian Thomsen explains, Bosh not only delivered Miami a 2-1 lead in their series against the Bulls, but answered critics who dismissed him as the least of The Big Three.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Auto racing • Baseball • Basketball • Golf • NBA • Sports
Stories from the storm: Fear, tears, prayers silenced by tornado destruction
"Everything was unrecognizable. Completely unrecognizable," one Joplin, Missouri, resident said.
May 23rd, 2011
02:42 PM ET

Stories from the storm: Fear, tears, prayers silenced by tornado destruction

[Updated at 3:27 p.m. ET Tuesday] At least 118 people died from a tornado that tore through Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said.

Here's what some of the survivors experienced:

Jeremy Cooper - 'We are so, so lucky'

The tornado hit a short distance from the house that Jeremy Cooper of Joplin, Missouri, shares with his family. "It started on 10th Street and I live on 7th Street," he said.

Cooper said sirens alerted him to what was in store - but not really.

"I could hear the tornado," he said. "When the first siren went off, 'cause it went off twice, you could hear in the air, the wind like a train."

"We just covered up in the basement real quick," he said.

The churning winds quickly died down, only to be replaced by another sound, Cooper said.

"I came back up, the weather had stopped being so crazy around our house. The police sirens just started going crazy, all the power was out in town."

Theresa Campbell - Tulsa resident was visiting friends in Joplin

Tulsa, Oklahoma, resident Theresa Campbell was visiting friends in Joplin when the twister tore through the area.

She took photos of the destruction around Joplin High School, which "was demolished," she said.

"The photos, while quite graphic, do not show the devastation that this town is feeling," Campbell said.

"Many families displaced. Many businesses and lives lost. It's truly heart wrenching."

Tussiona Mikell - Split-second, ceiling collapse and prayer saved me

Tussiona Mikell was at the cashier's register inside a Dollar Tree in Joplin, Missouri, when a friend called her to tell her a storm was approaching.

Mikell and five others waited out the storm in the cooler.

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Tornado survivor: Split-second decision saved my life
Tussiona Mikell debated taking shelter at this Walmart -- but instead chose to stay hunkered down at the Dollar Tree.
May 23rd, 2011
02:36 PM ET

Tornado survivor: Split-second decision saved my life

Tussiona Mikell was at the cashier's register inside a Dollar Tree in Joplin, Missouri, when a friend called her to tell her a storm was approaching. Mikell lives 12 miles from Joplin, in Neosho, Missouri, and was in town just to get a few items.

Then, the sirens started blaring.

The alerts were saying a tornado was headed straight down the street. Mikell took a split-second to make a decision. At first, she was going to head to the Walmart nearby, but she was afraid she might get caught trying to make it.

The Dollar Tree cashier said "Well, we have a freezer here, we normally go into the cooler when something like this happens," Mikell told CNN. "They were telling everyone, 'Get to the back, get to the back.' We rushed into the coolers and we could just hear everything on the outside, but we couldn't see what was happening."

Mikell and five others waited out the storm in the cooler.

"We could just hear things caving in but we couldn't see what was going on," she told CNN. "There was a lot of calling on Jesus. People were crying, saying different things. I was calling out 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.' "

Finally, after about 45 minutes, the group tried to make their way out of cooler. But it wouldn't budge.

"The ceiling fell down and blocked the freezer," Mikell recalled. "Everyone was trying to push to get (the door) cracked open. But we couldn't get it wide enough to get us out."

FULL POST

Joplin a hub for 4-state region
Joplin, Missouri, sits at the nexus of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
May 23rd, 2011
01:54 PM ET

Joplin a hub for 4-state region

Joplin is the commercial, transportation, medical and cultural hub of a 5,000-square-mile area with parts in four states - Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The city's website boasts that its 50,000 population swells to 270,000 during the workday as it draws from the 400,000 people who live within a 40-mile radius.

Joplin, located 140 miles south of Kansas City and 200 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, was founded in 1843 and operates on a city council-manager system. It sits at the junction of Interstate 44 and U.S. 71 and along historic Route 66. Joplin has been working on an ambitious downtown beautification project since 2005.

In 1933, the infamous outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow hid out in a Joplin garage for several weeks before fleeing after police were tipped off. They left behind a camera that yielded several iconic photos of the criminal duo.

The city's annual Boomtown Days festival in June features music, entertainment, kids activities, contests, food and games. The festival recalls Joplin's history as a lead-mining capital.

The Joplin Little Theater is the oldest continuously operating community theater west of the Mississippi, the city website boasts.

Famous people born in Joplin include poet Langston Hughes, golfer Hale Irwin, actors Bob Cummings and Dennis Weaver, and Emily Newell Blair who fought for women's suffrage.

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Filed under: Joplin • Missouri • Tornadoes • Weather
Live Blog: Tornado kills 116 in Joplin, Missouri
The tornado flattened buildings, snapped trees and tossed tractor-trailers like toys as it touched down in Joplin.
May 23rd, 2011
01:39 PM ET

Live Blog: Tornado kills 116 in Joplin, Missouri

[Updated at 4:40 p.m.] A total of 116 people are confirmed dead as a result of Sunday's tornado in Joplin,Missouri, city manager Mark Rohr told reporters Monday. That means the death toll from the Joplin twister is tied for second most in U.S. history, since the National Weather Service begin keeping such records in 1950.

[Updated at 1:39 p.m.] Rescuers have pulled five families from beneath the rubble in Joplin, Missouri, where a tornado devastated up to 30% of the city, according to Gov. Jay Nixon.

"We still believe there are folks alive under the rubble and we are working hard to save them," Nixon said Monday afternoon, nearly 19 hours after the tornado struck.

[Updated at 12:02 p.m.] St. John's Regional Medical Center was hit directly by the Joplin, Missouri, tornado and suffered significant damage, according to a statement from Lynn Britton, president of Sisters of Mercy Health System, which operates the hospital. One facade of the building made of glass was blown out, and authorities evacuated the medical center.

The hospital was treating 183 people when the storm struck, Britton said. It was unclear if any were injured in the storm. The patients were taken to hospitals as far away as Springfield, Missouri, and northwest Arkansas.

Structural engineers were on their way to Joplin to assess the building, where 1,700 people work, Britton said.

[Updated at 11:50 a.m.] CNN producer Eric Marrapodi was in Joplin, Missouri, when another wave of severe storms came through Monday morning.

"As lightning pops and thunder booms, you can see the locals flinch. It's likely too close for comfort after they lost 89 neighbors to a half-mile wide twister," Marrapodi writes.

FULL POST

Monday's intriguing people
Mary Hart retired last week after 29 years as the host of the syndicated "Entertainment Tonight."
May 23rd, 2011
11:42 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Departing TV anchors and hosts

The end of Oprah Winfrey's run as the queen of talk isn't television's only iconic departure. Last week, Mary Hart left  "Entertainment Tonight" after 29 years, and Katie Couric hosted her final broadcast as anchor of the "CBS Evening News."

The week was punctuated by the news that Jim Lehrer, the longtime host of "PBS NewsHour," would leave as well. Next up will be Meredith Vieira's final day on the "Today" show in June. And later this year, Regis Philbin is set to leave "Live," which he has hosted in syndication for nearly 30 years.

The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal noted the best farewells are usually the shortest ones. However, Winfrey's two-day extravaganza, which begins Monday, is an exception because it is a graduation of sorts, he said. Winfrey moves on to her network OWN. Whether her viewers will follow remains to be seen.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Islam • Media • Most Intriguing People • Osama bin Laden • Tornadoes
In Joplin, Missouri, 'telephone poles snapped like match sticks'
The storm snapped trees and telephone poles and flipped over cars.
May 23rd, 2011
11:38 AM ET

In Joplin, Missouri, 'telephone poles snapped like match sticks'

Editor's note: CNN producer Eric Marrapodi was on the ground in Joplin, Missouri, when the weather took another nasty turn Monday morning. Here's what he's seeing and witnessing as the sun comes up, but the storms keep coming.

It smells like fresh-cut lumber in Joplin, Missouri. It's the telephone poles, snapped like matchsticks.

We are taking cover in our live truck after the heavens opened up. There's a leak in the roof, but it's mostly dry.

As lightning pops and thunder booms, you can see the locals flinch. It's likely too close for comfort after they lost 89 neighbors to a half-mile wide twister.

The beating rain will wash away some of the dirt kicked up, but it won't unbend the basketball backboard that went from vertical to horizontal during the tornado.

I still can't figure out how the wicker chair got under the car that's under the snapped telephone pole.

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Filed under: Joplin • Missouri • On the Ground • Tornadoes • Weather
Supreme Court: California must end prison crowding
May 23rd, 2011
10:24 AM ET

Supreme Court: California must end prison crowding

The Supreme Court has affirmed a federal order against California to reduce its overflowing prison population, a situation the majority said "falls below the standard of decency."

The 5-4 ruling from the justices came in a classic battle over state versus federal authority, focusing on whether U.S courts can step in and essentially run state prisons when officials have repeatedly violated basic constitutional guarantees afforded inmates.

May 23rd, 2011
09:00 AM ET

'Surreal moment' in Joplin store freezer: Storm drowns out shrieks, prayers

Isaac Duncan was nearby in Carl Junction, Missouri, when he heard reports that the tornado was literally around the block. So he and a friend ran into the closest place they could find – a convenience store.

"When we went in the electricity was already out there and were about 20 people huddled down," Duncan told CNN. "Everyone was just deciding what to do."

Video shot inside the fridge shows little – it is dark and hard to see – but the screams and shrieking pleas for "Jesus, Jesus," "heavenly father," and "help" can be heard.

"Get away from the window," one man shouts as you can hear a girl crying, saying, "I'm scared."

Then someone takes charge telling all of the people to "get down, low on the ground."

You can hear the wind whipping against the structure followed by the massive shattering of glass and loud noise of destruction. The group frantically rushes into the freezer screaming.

"Dad?" you can hear someone screaming. The sound of wind and destruction drowns out their voices.

FULL POST

More severe weather in forecast for southwest Missouri
Large swaths of Joplin, Missouri, were destroyed by Sunday's tornado.
May 23rd, 2011
08:39 AM ET

More severe weather in forecast for southwest Missouri

Southwest Missouri may see more tornadoes this week, the National Weather Service in Springfield reports.

The region faces waves of strong thunderstorms on Monday that could bring heavy rain, strong winds and golf-ball sized or larger hail, according to the Weather Service forecast.

Isolated tornadoes are possible, forecasters say.

The forecast worsens for Tuesday and Wednesday, with an “enhanced threat” of severe weather, including more tornadoes, Tuesday evening and Tuesday night, the NWS says. The tornado threat continues into Wednesday.

The Weather Service has put the area under a flash-flood watch through Wednesday morning. Area rivers are expected to rise, forecasters say.

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Filed under: Missouri • Tornadoes • Weather
On the Radar: Missouri tornado, Obama's visit to Ireland, Pawlenty in, Oprah out
A cross rises above the rubble after a deadly tornado struck Sunday evening in Joplin, Missouri.
May 23rd, 2011
08:26 AM ET

On the Radar: Missouri tornado, Obama's visit to Ireland, Pawlenty in, Oprah out

Tornado devastates Missouri city: A tornado killed at least 89 people and destroyed as much as 20% of Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday evening. The twister cut a path through the central city and struck one of its hospitals.

Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard and stressed urgency in rescuing survivors.

Follow developments on CNN.com's live blog.

Louisiana inmates brace for flooding: Prisoners in southeastern Louisiana are helping to fill sandbags and patch up levee holes along the swollen Mississippi in an all-hands effort to keep the mighty river at bay.

At the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola, parts of the sprawling prison complex are already underwater, and some 2,000 inmates have been evacuated. But about 2,500 inmates are still at the prison, working to fill holes and keep the grounds dry.

Along with several other states, Louisiana is struggling to cope with the worst flood to hit the lower Mississippi River Valley since at least 1937. FULL POST

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Filed under: Joplin • Missouri • Tornadoes • Weather
Monday's live video events
May 23rd, 2011
07:37 AM ET

Monday's live video events

Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the aftermath of Sunday's devastating storms.

Today's programming highlights...

9:31 am ET - Italian president calls Endeavour - Italy's president talks to astronauts on board space shuttle Endeavour and the international space station.

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • District of Columbia • Elections • Florida • Ireland • Italy • Natural Disasters • Nature • On CNN.com today • Politics • Shuttle • Space • Tim Pawlenty • Tornadoes • U.S. • Weather • World
May 23rd, 2011
06:10 AM ET

Tornado decimates Missouri city; number of deaths expected to rise

Residents in Joplin, Missouri, braced for news of fatalities Monday after a vicious tornado flattened buildings, tossed cars and hurled debris up to 70 miles away.

"I would say 75% of the town is virtually gone," said Kathy Dennis of the American Red Cross.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard and stressed urgency in rescuing survivors after the Sunday evening twister.

"It's total devastation, with a hospital down, the high school down, other areas," he said. "We just want to make sure that as the night goes on, we're saving lives between now and dawn."

Nixon said late Sunday night that there was no official death toll, but "we have had confirmation of a number of deaths. And the number appears to be rising."

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Joplin • Missouri • Tornadoes • Weather
Iceland hopes to reopen airspace after volcanic eruption
Iceland's Grimsvotn erupted on Saturday.
May 23rd, 2011
05:39 AM ET

Iceland hopes to reopen airspace after volcanic eruption

Iceland hopes its main international airport will reopen to air traffic Monday, following a volcanic eruption in the country on Saturday, a spokeswoman told CNN.

Airspace over the country's four international airports was closed on Sunday.

"There are no international flights in or out of Iceland at this time," Keflavik International Airport spokeswoman Hjordis Gudmunsdottir said.

There was "no impact on European or transatlantic flights" after the Grimsvotn volcano's eruption, Europe's umbrella air traffic control association Eurocontrol said.

Ash is expected to reach Scotland on Tuesday and could enter France and Spain on Thursday, Eurocontrol said.

Last year, another Icelandic eruption, of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull, attracted worldwide attention after its ash cloud disrupted air travel across Europe.

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Filed under: Iceland • Volcano