St. Louis, Mo. – The tornado that slammed into Joplin on Sunday is now the eighth deadliest on record. The death toll reached 122 people last nigh. The National Weather Service has increased the rating of the storm's strength to an EF-5 - the highest category. Winds topped 200 miles per hour. Search and rescue crews rescued two more people from the wreckage yesterday (Tuesday), bringing the total number of rescues to nine.
Joplin fire chief Mitch Randles says crews have already completed two searches of the tornado's footprint, and were working on a third sweep through the area on Tuesday night.
"Our intentions are, as soon as our resources arrive for the morning, we will do a fourth search, and possibly a fifth search through the area, mostly with different type of canine units," says Randles.
City officials say 400 firefighters and other emergency personnel from across the state are assisting in the search and rescue operation, as well as 200 trained civilian volunteers.