New tornadoes strike battered US

JOPLIN, Mo (Reuters) - The death toll from a monster tornado that savaged Joplin, Missouri, rose to 125 on Wednesday as tornadoes overnight in nearby states caused at least 13 more deaths. Bulldozers pushed through rubble in Joplin and search teams pressed through a six-mile-long path of destruction looking for survivors and likely more victims, authorities said. At least 823 were injured by the tornado that hit on Sunday at dinner time, and an estimated 1,500 remain missing. Eight died in Oklahoma, while Arkansas officials confirmed three deaths, and two deaths were confirmed in Kansas from a line of several tornadoes that roared across the Midwest overnight. As the storm system moved eastward, Arkansas, northern Mississippi, southern Illinois and Indiana were at the highest risk for devastating tornadoes on Wednesday, according to The Joplin tornado was rated an EF-5, the highest possible on the Enhanced Fujita scale of tornado power and intensity, with winds of at least 200 miles per hour (328 km/ph). EF-5 tornadoes are rare in the United States but already this year there have been at least four. They are so destructive that experts said they can turn a house into a missile. Authorities in Joplin established checkpoints and issued permits to allow homeowners to return to demolished home sites and try to recover valuables. So far 823 people had been treated for storm-related injuries, both in areas hospitals and in a temporary medical centre set up in the town's concert hall that used equipment salvaged from the town's heavily-damaged main hospital. Doctors described grabbing supplies as they raced to safety Sunday night. "We took everything that wasn't bolted down," said St. John's head physician Sean Smith. In Newcastle, south of Oklahoma City, a storm blew the steeple off Jesus Alive Church and flung it nearly 100 yards (90 metres) away, where it landed on the doorstep of the long-time pastor's 86-year-old mother, Lovina Frizzell. "I said 'Oh, my goodness, there's the steeple,'" Frizzell told Reuters on Tuesday evening as she stood on her front porch sweeping. "Yes, it's quite a mess." In Arkansas, the National Weather Service reported a tornado devastated Denning, a town of about 200 people. About 10,000 people spent the night at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport where golfball-size hail was reported, according to airport spokeswoman Sarah McDaniel.

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