Joplin, Missouri, is still reeling from a massive tornado that touched down late Sunday evening. The tornado is the deadliest since 1947, claiming 123 lives. That number is expected to rise, however, as rescue workers continue to sift through the wreckage.
The insurance industry has responded well to the disaster, coming off the heels of April’s calamitous storms. EQECAT, a catastrophe modeling firm, has released their initial estimates of how much the disaster will cost insurers: $3 billion.
Joplin stood directly in the path of the tornado, which first formed near the Missouri-Kansas state line. As it progressed, it grew in intensity, eventually becoming an EF-4 tornado with winds of 190mph. Several rural residences were destroyed as the tornado made its way to the city.
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Emergency management officials report that as much as 10% of the city had been decimated. The tornado tore through an area that was packed with schools and homes. The fierce winds wrought havoc downtown as well, causing damage to a number of business and hospitals. In all, more than 2,000 buildings were completely demolished. Another 10,000 buildings – nearly 75% of the city – were damaged by the tornado’s wind field.
The state’s Department of Insurance is urging residents to get in touch with their insurers as soon as possible to file claims. FEMA has already been dispatched to provide aid in the disaster area. Workers have converted the Leggett & Platt Athletic center at Missouri Southern State College into a makeshift, emergency shelter for those that have lost their homes in the disaster.