Texas Tops 10 States Ravaged by Extreme Weather in 2011
In April, a deadly tornado almost a mile wide swept through Joplin, MO killing more than 150 people. Credit: Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star/MCT/Getty Images.
Missouri was the site of America’s worst tornado disaster since 1950, when a massive tornado, nearly a mile wide, wiped large portions of the city of Joplin off the map on May 22nd. With winds greater than 200 mph, that tornado killed nearly 160 people, making it the seventh deadliest in U.S. history.
Tornadoes were just one prong of the deadly onslaught of extreme weather in Missouri, as a combination of heavy spring rains and upstream snowmelt sent the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers surging over their banks. According to NOAA, in an average year the Missouri River channels 24.8 million acre feet of water. This year, it carried 24.3 million acre feet in May and June alone. When the Army Corps of Engineers essentially blew up the levees to save the small town of Cairo, Illinois, floodwaters inundated around 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland.