Kelly Hatmaker

JOPLIN, Mo. (KMOX) – Video and photographs posted on-line are the best proof of the terrible strength of the tornado that destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri, Sunday and claimed more than one hundred lives.

Related Links:
New Death Toll In Joplin Set at 89
PHOTOS: Massive Tornado Strikes Joplin
Nixon Expects Death Toll To Rise
Want to Help Those Hit in the Joplin Tornado?

Storm Chasers Jeff Piotrowski and Kathryn Piotrowski tracked the tornado through the city, shooting over three hours of footage of the event. The professional storm chasers also stopped to help pull persons out of the rubble.

Multiple users documented their own personal experiences during the storm, including this terrifying recording taken at a Fast Trip Convience store on East 20th Street in Joplin, very near where the tornado did some of the worst damage.

There is not enough light to see the faces of those taking shelter inside, but their voices — and desperate prayers — come through loud and clear.

One of the voices on the tape belonged to Brennan Stebbins. The 23-year-old says he thought he might die at the time. But he says those inside the cooler, about 20 people including several small children, tried to comfort each other.

Stebbins says they all ran into the cooler when the building started to collapse, crouching on the floor, praying and crying as the storm hit in two separate waves. Eventually they were able to crawl out. No serious injuries were reported.

Additional video shows the totality of the destruction along the tornado’s path. Smoke in the distance provides a grim reminder of the lack of essential services – most roads near ground zero were impassable to even emergency vehicles, gas mains were broken, there’s little power in the area and phone service has been largely unavailable.

(Copyright KMOX)

Comments (133)
  1. RufusVonDufus says:

    The fury of nature is unparalleled except when it comes to mankind’s most deviate behavior with the stupidity of war.

    1. Michael Ripp says:

      Idiotic comment.

      1. JWS says:

        And a fitting name to go with it.

    2. Erik Olson says:

      War is usually the result of one group of people standing up and defending themselves from the actions of another group of people. You should say “The stupidity of fighting opression”. That’s really what you people mean, isn’t it.

    3. Constance says:

      At this time, perhaps some human compassion is in order. People have died, and people have lost everything in their lives. War is at the bottom of the list of importance to these people, and quite frankly, to the rest of us in this country who care about them. These are Americans. They need us. Anything else is secondary.

      1. Kayleigh says:

        I agree. Well said.

      2. Kayleigh says:

        I meant I agree with Constance 🙂

    4. Chamomile says:

      Wham bam thank you, ma’am, my questions are anwsered!

  2. Maria says:

    Dear Lord ! We are with you in prayer Joplin! My heart aches for the suffering you all are going through. Stay Strong the rest of America stands behind you in prayer.

    1. GizaDog says:

      Dear Lord? A higher power would not do this to its people. This is mother natures power.

      1. dekatko says:

        Wow your filth seems to be smeared all over the internet… What is it with you and religion?

      2. Triple A says:

        Hey GizaMutt, People have the right to believe with out listening to your garbage as well as you have the right not to believe.

      3. Rush Buckman says:

        Shut up aetheist secular P R I C K. Leave MY America or fall in line…NOW. JERK.

      4. Dr. Beverly R. Stang says:


        Just wow. And below we are talking about ‘wiping out’ atheists.

        I suggest you read what you are going to post aloud to yourself twice before hitting “post”, because I like to think that you really don’t mean that.

      5. CRYSTAL says:

        your America?
        How this turned into an atheist bashing session is odd..Please email me if you want to attack an atheist in YOUR contry.

      6. crystal says:

        I was born in America. I have the freedom of and freedom from religion. You have the freedom to practice your religion. Please contact me at
        and you can explain why an atheist shouldn’t live in here.

      7. Monica Clinton says:

        You’re next GizaMutt…God is going to wipe out all of you aetheist secular liberal types!!

      8. BDS says:

        Monica – I’m a liberal, and I very much believe in God. You shouldn’t stereotype people just because you disagree with them. Otherwise, some people might accuse all conservatives of being hate-filled rednecks who are so terrified of anyone who is even a little bit different from them in any way, that they very quickly respond with incredible vehemence and threats to any blog comment that they don’t agree with. That would suck if people stereotyped like that, wouldn’t it?

      9. Chauncy says:

        Some day, you can ask him. I’m sure he will appreciate your question but more so understand your petulant questions

      10. Doug Glass says:

        Well GizaDog …dog. I guess we all know of whom you’re a son of.

      11. Alex says:

        We must turn back to God or we will not live in His good graces.

      12. Jacob says:

        Shut up GizaDog. I sure am glad I have never had you around in troubled times, because I’d want to punch you. It’s people like you the ruin the world, make it a dark uncaring , argumentative, constant source of frustration.

        We could use more people like Maria up there.

      13. BT says:

        That’s very Christian of you Jacob! (HEAVY SARCASM!!!!!!)

      14. lski says:

        Nice Posting and a valid question, what kind of god or higher power would do this?
        And why all the insults when one doesnt believe what others do? What if there isnt such a thing as GOD? All of the killing in lords name would be selfish useless acts….could it be true? I think anything is possible and have an open mind…but will not believe tyrants and dictators regardless of how they mask themselves and defend themselves in the name of some religion…or the lords name…which ever you prefer!

      15. lski says:

        Excellent Posting and agree!
        My sympathy goes out to all in the area. It is a sad day for the people of Joplin and will keep them in my thoughts.

    2. Overcoming Illness With Joy says:

      Thank you for your comments and prayers. They are greatly appreciated.

  3. JJ says:

    They got Raptured – what lucky folks !

  4. Overcoming Illness With Joy says:

    Living near Joplin,the damage is indescribable. The area is so thankful for the support of people across the nation. Thank you for bringing awareness to the situation.

    1. Stafon says:

      I’m quite pleased with the infmaortion in this one. TY!

  5. Matt in DC says:

    Come on, people. I’m an atheist, but let’s have some respect for other people’s beliefs. Does every Internet thread have to degenerate into this kind of BS immediately? While I’m not praying for Joplin, I am keeping them in my thoughts and will do whatever I can to support the relief efforts.

    Let’s please keep some perspective.

    1. but-seriously-folks says:

      Amen to that!

    2. Jester says:

      Then keep your atheistic beliefs to yourself…….idiot!

    3. Randy says:

      Is that the same respect you just showed for Christians?

      If you don’t believe in God, then why are you so offended by Him? If He isn’t real then what is the problem?

      Only 95% of the world believes in a supreme being.

      I personally believe in God, the Bible, and Jesus as the Savior of man. I urge you to reconsider before judgment comes to you for eternity. I might be wrong or you might be wrong. The difference is the consequences of me being wrong are that I live a good life. The difference in you being wrong are very bad for you.

    4. Tednugent says:

      You can start by shutting up. They have been through enough.

    5. Keith Josephs says:

      WTH? The guy said he is an atheist and says there should be respect for believers and then he gets grief from believers for that? Nice. I’m glad I de-converted two years ago. Pray if you wish. No harm no foul. But! Don’t beat up on a guy for standing up for YOU even if he doesn’t agree with you.

      1. Japes Macfarland says:

        Keith, isn’t it obvious that the one reply that was negative to the atheist’s post is not a believer. His name is ‘jester’ for goodness sakes. He’s just rabble rousing lol…

    6. readTheWordman says:

      oh bubs you’ll believe when its too late and you kneel before His throne as every tongue shall confess He alone is Lord and then, i pray not for as much as you might repent, HE WILL cast you away forever, saying depart from me I knew you not.

    7. Dian says:

      MATT…what happened in Joplin Missouri isn’t about you or your beliefs….geez

    8. Heaven says:

      What a great resocure this text is.

  6. Rob says:

    What happened is horrible, and my sympathies go out to all the family affected.

    But if this is God’s work, then I want know part of it. Either God has the compassion of a 2-year old child, pointlessly ripping legs off a spider, or God doesn’t exist. Take your pick. If this isn’t proof enough, then there is no hope for the world. I don’t need a God to tell me the difference between right and wrong, but if you do and you blindly follow “God’s will”, which in this case would surely be evil, then your ignorance is surely the cause of most human suffering. Use your heads!

    1. Robby says:

      No Rob you use your head if you have one. No need for insulting someones spiritual beliefs, especially in their time of need. If you don’t have anything intelligent to add back up shut up!!!!!!!

    2. John S says:

      Funny how how all the big disasters hit the Bible Belt. Maybe God is trying to tell all the right wing T/Baggers to stop the ignorance. Quit listening to all the right wing capitalist’s and start showing some mercy for progressives. Stop listening to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Where has it gotten you. Do all of you not believe in climet change now? Now lets see….how can we blame Obama for this.I mean there has to be some way. Maybe Hannity and limbaugh, or Pat Robertson can figure out something. Oh I know…its Mo’s gay marriage laws. It has to be.

      1. JD says:

        I believe in climate change. Back when the dinosaurs were roaming the earth most of West Texas was under an ocean. Amazingly the climate changed and now the same area is an arid desert. Damn those cavemen and their SUVs.

      2. Parker says:

        You accuse people whom you do not know of “ignorance” AND insult them by using a BIGOTED term (TeaBagger)?

        If this is what being “progressive” is (hateful, mean and bigoted during a crisis), I’ll take “regressive.”


    3. Randy says:

      God is sovereign and has allowed this to happen. One part of God that no one wants to accept is that God is just. Once man disobeyed Him in the Garden, the human race had to live in the judgment of God for our sin. That means pain and suffering in this world. Because of the justness and holiness of God, he demands that a price be paid for our sin.

      Because of God’s love for His creation, He send Jesus to pay that price for all of humanities sin. When we repent and believe in Him to save us from our sins, we may be saved for eternal judgment from God. That does not change the fallen world we currently live in. This earth will not be corrected until Jesus returns to correct all the pain and suffering as a result of man’s sin.

      The Bible says that in the last days that unbelievers will be blinded to the truth of His Word. I pray that you reconsider your position before it is too late. Man is appointed once to die. The second death is your choice for all eternity. The Bible also says that man is without excuse because He has shown Himself in creation (Romans 1:20).

      Please don’t be foolish in your thinking. God will not be mocked. Do you really believe that this world and all the miracles of creation – life just happened because two rocks bumped into each other? Have you ever made anything from 2 rocks together other than 2 smaller rocks? Ever hit 2 pieces of metal together and a car forms? That is what evolution teaches.

      It takes more faith to be an atheist than it does a believer.

    4. brent clarke says:

      You should read Pascal Theory. basically, If I beleive in God and God doesn’t exist, I lose nothing. If I believe in God and he does exist, I gain everything. If i disbelieve in God and he exists, I lose everything. The wise man, even if he was completely blind to the wonders of creation that are found in the least of Gods creations, would take the odds and believe in God.

    5. crashcup says:

      You want “KNOW” part of it?
      Did you complete the 5th grade?

    6. Dian says:

      Rob, those of us who believe in God also acknowledge that He has a rival whom we call Satan. As a Christian I know that this is not the work of God but the work of His rival, who is the author of confusion, destruction, hurt, pain and much suffering. He is also the author of doubt.

      1. Bill J. says:

        Religion is a sham. It is a belief in a fictional deity that makes weak people feel better.

        Religious people are quite annoying IMO… and that includes liberals whose religion is progressive politics.

  7. matt m says:

    why would anyone be so sick in the head to criticize someone praying in a moment of sheer absolute terror. I am not a religious man but i have been in a situation where I was completely out of control of my fate (northridge earth quake in california) and to this day i dont even remember exactly how i reacted…people’s lives and livelihood’s were lost here and we were able to get a real life glimpse into what they experienced. get off your high horse and quit nitpicking about this poor woman who is calling out to god. it is an unnecessary attack.

  8. Sunny says:

    Some of you have written, we must turn back to God. I believe it is too late to turn back. God, by the way of mother nature is letting us know he is not pleased with humans and their free will. We, humans, are so vile in our ways that there is no hope for some of us. You know, Noah warned the people the whole time he was building the ark and humans scoffed, laughed and made fun of him. I’m not laughing and I do not care if you make fun of this post. I’m going to continue to try to be a good and loving person and believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins. I’m not a church member. I don’t care for organized religion. I trust God and he has been good to me. I hope there are others out there who show kindness to others and continue to be strong in their own type faith. God lives in your body/spirit. Just talk to him and he will answer you. I don’t believe he cares what faith you are as long as you have a bond with HIM.

    1. Jimmy says:

      Nice post, and very much on target.

  9. Mack Daddy says:

    …..and O’Bama (his new Irish name) is drinking Guiness and enjoying another vacation in Europe. Funny how he’s always out of town when our country suffers like this. We are praying for our brothers and sisters in MO.

    1. Michelle says:

      OMG, Like O’Bama knew a tornado was going to touch down in Joplin, MO!!!
      Get a clue

      1. ben says:

        Why do you think he left? To find his Irish roots? Haha!

      2. Randy says:

        I really could care less about were Obama is right now but to be fair and balanced.

        I think some that are so sick of Obama’s policys and leadership have let their emotions take over there common sense. While I have plenty to be disgusted at Obama about, he didn’t know this was going to happen. He has made his disaster blunders but this isn’t one of them.

      3. todd g says:

        Exactly. Let him have another vacation. Its not like there is urgent work to be done with massive Unemployment, Lybia, Egypt, staggering Deficits, looming Govt shutdown, etc., etc., etc…

      4. Skip says:

        So excited I found this article as it made things much qiucekr!

    2. BDS says:

      Yeah, how dare the President be out of town on a long-scheduled visit to Ireland, when this sudden and random tornado struck Joplin. I mean, we all know that the tornado was planned for weeks in advance!! (sarcasm intended). Did you blame George W. Bush for being in Florida when the 9/11 tragedy happened? Your statement was ludicrous. Can’t you just express your prayers for the poor victims of the Joplin tragedy, without attaching a political statement to it?

      1. syager1972 says:

        Were better off when hes out of the country..

  10. The Watchman says:

    No one is good to all uninformed people…..
    Deu. 9:5
    Hos. 9:8
    Ps. 14:1-2

    1. Dutch says:

      Jeremiah 17:9

    2. The Watchman says:

      Praying for the folks in Joplin….and the surrounding communities heart to serve those in Joplin. This is America at its finest!

      1. Overcoming Illness With Joy says:

        Thank you. . .

    3. Lettice says:

      Your article was eexcllnet and erudite.

  11. Dutch says:

    Where’s Obama???? If Bush were President, he’d be blamed for this too…

    1. Scott says:

      Who says Bush isn’t being blamed for it; he’s been blamed for everything else.

  12. Bob Fiden says:

    Atheists are becoming almost as obnoxious as vegetarians in terms of public display of moral superiority.

    1. Keith Josephs says:

      As if Christians don’t claim moral superiority…

  13. Krystal says:

    My prayers are with the Joplin community today.

  14. Parker says:

    The leftist haters on this site who use a moment of great tragedy like this to declare their hate and contempt for conservatives and or religious beliefs…

    …are simply despicable people.

    Just because you don’t believe in God means you shouldn’t try to be a decent human being?

  15. Victoria says:

    Why is everyone getting off track here and turning this horrible tragedy into a religious and political argument? It’s bad enough that there are actually people making fun of someone on here for her reactions- she’s obviously staring death in its face.That had to be so traumatizing. Unexpected tragedies can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at anytime…you could be in thier shoes one day. Have a heart…people have died, lost everything they had, and probably lost lots of loved ones! The town was demolished! My heart goes out to those people in my neighboring town of Joplin. May you be strong and with the help of others rebuild your city and your lives.

    1. Randy says:

      Victoria with all due respect this is the perfect time to evaluate our spiritual condition. That is exactly why the people were praying because they knew they were about to see God face to face. This life is temporary, the next life is for keeps. This is a somber reminder of how fragile life is and how we need to be prepared for facing God one day.

      My thoughts and paryers go out to all these people. By the way, I live in Alabama near an area that just got demolished by F5 tornados. God let me live and be spared.

    2. Overcoming Illness With Joy says:

      Thank you for your comments. The devastation is difficult to imagine, even as I read it on a national level. Locally, people are focused on saving lives, helping those people who have lost a family member, churches upon multitudes have stepped in with assistance immediately. The focus is on overcoming. SW Missouri will show our strength in many ways. Let’s focus on the majors.

  16. Hank Warren says:

    No US gov’t money to help the survivors but plenty of money to support endless Wars for Israel, it all started nearly a decade ago under a false flag attack.
    9/11 and Israel, here:

  17. Facts says:

    Where, exactly, is Obama?

    Oh, that’s right…he’s over in Ireland (a nation and culture he has nothing to do with) pretending to be Irish in front of fawning, white-guilter crowds under nice, sunny skies.

    He needed his ego fix of brainless, white adorers and Joplin as far as he’s concerned doesn’t even exist…

  18. Ben says:

    The hate, sarcasm and vitriol here is saddening. Some let the agitators press buttons. Over-reactions from left and right wing nuts. I was laughing at first, then remembered the horrible loss of life & property in this tragedy. Selfish fools aplenty.

  19. Overcoming Illness With Joy says:

    Let’s please give consideration above all to the loss of 119 lives that have occurred at this time. Another 400 people are missing. People are struggling to locate their family, their homes are gone, and we have had severe storms all day long that are expected to continue through the night and into tomorrow. As a nearby resident, the encouragement of so many across the country is greatly appreciated. This is the big picture.

    1. Gabby says:

      Yes it is the big picture! Our hearts go out to everyone who lives in the Joplin and surrounding areas.

  20. Sarah Lee says:

    My heart really goes out to these people. As hard as it was to watch the videos, it’s probably a million times worse to see it in person.

  21. mc says:

    Many won’t like this comment, but these tornadoes and catastrophes are the result of how Obama is treating Israel. Yahweh says Israel is the apple of his eye and not to divide His land. Prepare for worse than this, if He continues to side with the Muslims

    1. kp says:

      shut the hell up, you’re a moron, and i only had to read one sentence of what you wrote to realize that… i’m surprised it took me that long actually

  22. Bruce Bodner says:

    This is definitely Bush’s fault. Or maybe Cheney and Halliburtin !

  23. Joe Tittiger says:

    Never fear GUN GRABBING FEMA is there making everyone feel safe like they did in New Orleans.

  24. Jeremiah says:

    Judgement is falling on you, America. Turn from your wickedness and your witchcraft! You will die if you don’t. Death is coming for you.

  25. Edward Johnston says:

    Sovereign or Slave, Part 1of 6

  26. tpreitzel says:

    As a fellow American who’s also a reborn Christian by grace, I wish and pray for the rapid recovery and healing of both physical and spiritual wounds brought by this tornado on the folks of Joplin, Mo. These natural disasters certainly aren’t the work of God in His age of grace. He graciously granted all of His creation a limited free will and we all misuse it to varying degrees whether intentional or accidental. This tragedy is simply a continuation of the tragedies prevalent in a fallen world. The dawning of a new day renews our hope for a better future.

    1. gabby says:

      @tpreizel, you are right on. The Lord doesn’t bring these catastrophes upon people, it is a thing of nature, because we indeed do live in a fallen world. What the Lord does do, is help people to have strength and perseverance to get through whatever calamity befalls us.

  27. Robert Streiferd says:

    God bless these people!

  28. poptropicafan2123/ShadowCollins says:


  29. Barry says:

    I live near Joplin, and I am praying for a quick recovery. Those that say there is no God are fools(Psalms 53:1). We Christians need to be kind and Christ like. We already have a bad rap. This tornado is not Gods judgment, but there is going to come a time on this earth that God is going to send judgment and make all of this seem small. This country needs to repent and look towards Christ and do Luke 21:36. If you don’t believe in God now you will some day!! To God be the glory!

  30. Tyya says:

    That’s going to make tnhigs a lot easier from here on out.

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