It's been 11 years now, but it still seems like yesterday. It was the afternoon of May 22, 2011 when a monster EF5 tornado cut a tragic swath through Joplin, Missouri and there are many that will never forget that day.

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The National Weather Service noted how hot and humid it was in the late morning and early afternoon of May 22, 2011. They were watching a thunderstorm moving from southeast Kansas toward the Joplin, Missouri area. They had issued a hazardous weather outlook on Friday, May 20 and a tornado watch at approximately 1:30pm on May 22. By 5:17pm, that watch had become a dire warning.

One of the most harrowing accounts of the May 22, 2011 Joplin twister was shared by people inside of a convenience store who sought shelter in a cooler and captured video of the terror they experienced.

The National Weather Service shared a timeline showing the path of destruction.

Infographic, National Weather Service
Infographic, National Weather Service

One of the most vivid memories I have on that day was watching Mike Bettes from the Weather Channel as he became emotional arriving in Joplin.

By the time the tornado had dissipated, the numbers shared by the National Weather Service were staggering:

  • 158 killed
  • Over 1,000 injured
  • Windspeed over 200 mph

Yes, it's been 11 years now and most of Joplin has been rebuilt. But, ask anyone that experienced that tornado and you'll almost unanimously hear that it will be a tornado and a day that will never be forgotten. Hopefully it's a day unlike any we experience again.

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