If you can picture this……… (the squiggly line is the track of the tornado)
Joplin North to South streets are numbered. Joplin & Webb City have grown in to each other and Webb City is North. The tornado came in from the Galena/Riverton, KS area which is due West of Joplin. It came in around 15-26th streets. The main East & West markers in Joplin are Duquesne (East, which I forgot to mark but it’s east of Range Line), Then Range Line, then Main Street, Then Maiden Lane. St. John’s Hospital is over on 26th street and just East of Maiden Lane. It blew up St. Johns. They said it sounded like an atomic bomb going off. I guess that twister sucked a lot of both staff and patients out of the windows (I’ve heard including a 300lb man, just gone. Vanished. Not that weight matters…) It was 1/2 mile wide and moved at 20 miles per hour. It kind of bounced back and forth between 15th and 26th streets. Once it got to 15th & Range Line (where one of the Walmarts is that is now gone) it turned due and went down Range line. It took out Walmart, Academy, a strip center with a JoAnn’s cloth store and CC’s pizza, a brand new Walgreens at 20th & RL, plus the Home Depot is flattened right behind it. As it went on down Range Line it took out Chick-Fil-A, Ihop, Lowes’, and once it got to 32nd street it turned and went east again down 32nd street. Red Lobster is on 32nd & RL and it took at least part if not all of Red Lobster (Lowes is just North of Red Lobster about 5 blocks… it’s about 26th & Range Line) and then it went east down 32nd Street. South of 32nd Street is I-44. It had semi’s knocked over, on top of each other, banged around and it went out at the 249 bypass at 71 & I-44. There is a Flying J right there and I’ve heard it is gone. Then it headed on down I-44 actually toward my parents & grandparents house. My parents/grandparents live about 11 miles from there or so. I called my dad and my grandma, pretty much all they got was debris (which we got and we’re more to the North and East of Joplin. My dad did say that it blew one of his pipe fences apart and he had to go put cows back in. Otherwise my family was ok.
Now St. John’s is on McClelland Blvd & 26th street (just east of Maiden Lane about 4 blocks or so or just west of Main Street about 8 blocks.). Freeman West Hospital is on 32nd & basically McClelland. Freeman East Hospital is at 32nd & just East of Main Street (which is East of Maiden Lane) about 4 blocks. My Mother in law works at Freeman East. They had them on 3rd floor where the Psych Ward is (no windows and can’t move those patients). Their warnings and all clears come from Freeman West. After the storm had moved on and was headed out of Joplin and more our direction, they still hadn’t gotten the all clear from West because West got a little damage (but definitely not like St. Johns). So they opened a triage center in the basement of East, at Memorial Hall (over on 7th St) and other places around the city. My mother in law was at work last night until around 4:30am or so and she actually gets off at 11.
She said she drove down 32nd street to Range Line and then caught I-44 and headed home. She lives about 7-10 miles on East of my parents and she said what she saw was just awful. And she gets to go and do it all over again tonight.
They had to move critical patients to Freeman West and non critical to either triage centers or they sent them to Carthage, up to Lamar (45 minutes away) or Pittsburg, KS (45 minutes away) or moved even some of them to Springfield which is about 1 hr 15 minutes away.