Six miles long and a half-mile wide

Yesterday we spent some of the day picking up from the microburst that downed trees and scattered branches all around our house Wednesday before last. Then, about to head into town late in the afternoon, still under clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine, we looked to the east and saw towering cumulus clouds poking through a low, flat cloud ceiling. Some looked liked multiple nuclear mushroom clouds. Very beautiful in the evening light, going brilliant red at sunset. Beautiful to us, especially knowing it was moving away from us, but plainly fearsome for those in its path.

This morning the first headline I read was that 75% of Joplin was gone. An excited Red Cross woman's estimate made those headlines, but calmer authorities put it at 20%, still horrendous. Six miles long and a half-mile wide, taking out a major commercial area, schools, that hospital, and hitting south suburbs very hard. Approaching a hundred dead at last count, with more sure to be uncovered. As the mayor said, Joplin will survive, and rebuild better than ever, but it's a major disaster at the moment.

Also this morning, I've watched the radar as a a tiny cell just north of us has grown into another small but ugly-looking monster, getting bigger, wider, and seemingly aimed right at Joplin. Surely won't be as bad as yesterday, but certainly unwelcome in the midst of recovery and rescue efforts!

Fortunate that the hospital at least had enough warning to move patients into the hallways. Photos of the building show glass blown out everywhere. In the hospital parking lot, a helicopter lying on its side is nearly unrecognizable, and vehicles are piled on top of one another.

On one site, the first commenter blamed global warming (presumably meaning human-caused global warming) for the "abnormal" weather. Most delightfully, the next commenter remarked, why is everyone so excited? We get tornadoes every year. The knee-jerk "global warmist" comment reminds me of the YouTube of a lawn sprinkler with rainbows in the spray, and a woman talking about how they never had rainbows on the ground when she was young, it must be some government plot. And she was serious.

A few sources with vids and pix of Joplin (hoping the link gremlin is asleep):