tv John King USA CNN May 24, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
the blast reportedly killed at least one person and injured six others. an iranian official blames technical problems for the explosion, not intentional sabotage. mr. ahmadinejad was not hurt, and even went on to deliver a speech at that facility. wolf? >> lisa, thanks very much. see you back here tomorrow. that's all the time we have today. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. "john king usa" starts now. >> good evening, everyone. we're live in joplin, missouri. the death toll stands at 122 this evening. everyone we talked to today says they're certain the death toll of 122 will climb higher as they dig deeper into the rubble. storms here and other severe weather across the u.s. right now a tornado approaching the oklahoma city metropolitan area. west of there, in canadian county, oklahoma, two fatalities are reported.
chad meyers is in the severe weather center. let's get right to chad on oklahoma. chad? >> we have a line of weather from kansas to texas right across the red river. we have multiple -- i counted eight a little bit ago -- severe thunderstorms all rotating that could put down tornadoes at any time. we do know that big tornadoes have been on the ground, tornadoes in excess of 150 miles per hour to the west of oklahoma city. one just to the west of el reno into oklahoma. that's just a suburb of oklahoma city and on toward guthrie. tornado emergency down near norman, oklahoma and more with a big tornado on the ground and another one down near washington. that tornado has been on the ground for a while. it is going to be one long night, because it is certainly not over, and in fact, with the heat of the day just now being 6:00 central time, it is just getting going for places east of i-35 into tulsa and eventually, yes, that word joplin right there, as the weather just rakes
across oklahoma and into the eastern sections of oklahoma county and into oklahoma city. that's where the humidity is even higher. that could make the storms get a little stronger. if they stay together as individual supercell tornadoes, there will be -- there's one, two, see how they're all separate? if they all line up, they will fight for the energy and there won't be as many big tornadoes, but we know there have been fatalities today and there continue to be fatalities tonight as long as all these storms stay together in individual krecells as they rot one after another after another as they go into joplin in probably three or four hours. >> we'll stay in touch with chad and stay on top of the oklahoma story. we're trying to get the governor back on the line as we speak. here in missouri, we'll show you a lot of devastation tonight and we'll try to describe just what we saw as we walked through the shadow of the impact zone. i'm sure we'll fail to do
justice for the power of the storm and the death and destruction it left behind. >> it is like armageddon. i mean, it's like everything you think is, like, real and solid is suddenly -- everything is blowing up. as we stood, the door was opened on the produce cooler and looking into the rest of the store, and it just exploded. >> when we arrived here this morning, we were told search and rescue teams had just heard noises at the walmart that was decimated by the tornado. at this hour, no definitive word on that search, and malcolm tells us this hour or this evening he'll have to make a painful transition in consultation with other officials in the search and rescue phase and shift into recovery operation. >> my fear, i guess, is that we won't be able to get to someplace before time and they expire before we can get to them. you'll never know what that number is, if any, but that's a
concern. >> but the exhausted search and rescue teams coming here from all across the state and elsewhere in the country spent the day digging and hoping. throughout the day crews have been working at the twisted wreckage of a home depot store where people were seeking shelter sunday night only to be buried when the walls and roof came in on top of them. that site is cleared and there are, quote, no more people. you're reporting and people know 48 hours, they're racing the clock. >> racing the clock and racing the weather. they had to pull people off sites often. i was with missouri in home depot today, but the walls basically collapsed. they recovered seven people yesterday. they recovered one body today. one person was found alive in the home depot yesterday. but this team only found dead
bodies. they have dogs there which are especially trained, and they've been working those dogs over the site, four of them, but it is grim work and they have not been finding what they hoped. >> when you talk to these teams, they're veterans of tornadoes in the state, they're veterans of national disasters. they go back and forth, and when they see this, it's hard to describe the power of this storm. this was a school. >> thankfully, they've got heavier moving equipment. they have a number of jackhammers. they were able to drill through these walls itself. these front walls are incredibly thick. two slabs of concrete with insulation in between and a lot of rebar in that concrete, very well made. it's hard to find out if anyone is underneath and then moving those walls away. again, it's just been brutal what they find. >> i spend a lot of time in the
neighborhood over the hill here. people finally having a chance to go back to their homes and there is a mix of profound sadness, but also when they see the destruction, people are just grateful they're still alive. >> i spent some time today with a woman who was going through her mom's house, what's left of her mom's house. her mom survived, 80 years old, she was at her sister's house, two elderly women survived in the bathtub, and the daughter, sally smith, just looking for something she could get for her. her mom's house was totally destroyed. she felt if she could find some momentos, it would make her mom happy a little bit to know something survived. i hear it all over today, these are just things. we have each other and we're still alive. sally smith said life is good. she still believes life is good. >> anderson cooper will be back today and 8:00 p.m. eastern time tonight.
there are some planes flying around overhead and there's also some forklifts over here. a transmission grid right there, transformer grid, was destroyed in the storm. you can see the heavy equipment here for that. you can see as they debate to go to the recovery phase from search and rescue. that would allow heavy boulders to go on-site, but they worry that there are survivors underneath. we're also on top of breaking news in oklahoma. tornadoes reported on the ground in the oklahoma city area. the oklahoma governor mary fallon on the phone in oklahoma city. governor, what are you being told about any fatalities or significant damage so far? >> we're actually right in the middle of our storm. the fire engines just went off a few minutes ago here at the capital city a few minutes ago. we're still tracking all our storms. we don't have any counts right now of any fatalities, but we do know we've had at least four tornadoes and there's still some right now on the ground in
different areas of oklahoma. >> and, governor, what are the meteorologists telling you, your state of emergency management people telling you about the scope? how many tornadoes to expect if more than one and how broad the area where people need to be on alert? >> they need to be on alert right now and need to be watching the news and stay on top of this weather. it's a very dangerous storm. we anticipate the storm is going to last all night. it's a wide storm that goes clear from texas up to the kansas border. it's making a wide sweep through oklahoma. at one time a few moments ago, we had two, three, four tornadoes on the ground at once, and several of them were huge tornadoes that were on the ground, and we were seeing debris that was coming up. we were seeing flashes of lightning on the ground which means it's hitting, and we do know we've had some damage on the ground yet, but once again, we're all still watching the storms and trying to keep safe until this big storm is over. >> and, governor, if anybody in
your state, anybody in this area, sometimes people get a little foolish. they see a storm, they want to go out and take some pictures. we've already heard now two fatalities reported, perhaps more for the canadian county emergency management agency. obviously we're watching this play out. what would you say to anybody in your state who may be listening right now who want to go out in their car and shoot pictures of this? >> i'd tell them to stay inside, listen to the tv or radio, stay underground. on the news they've been showing pictures of the tornadoes on the ground. they're huge also, and this is a very dangerous time right now. we have all of our emergency management personnel in the emergency headquarters along with the high patrol, the hersch responders, the salvation army, all the different agencies, health department all lined up, tracking the storms to do everything we can to keep people safe. we'll be on the ground as soon as the storms pass to do everything we can to help in the recovery effort. our high patrol has actually
been going up and down our highways warning them with their lights and sirens to get off the highways. they pass through a major highway in oklahoma called i-40, and part of that highway is closed right now. we're still waiting on some reports from damage in that area. >> and you say you're waiting on some reports. i just want to circle back for anybody who might not have been with us in the beginning of the conversation. what are you being told about the potential reach and potential impact of the single tornado that we know has touched the ground in your area and the other storms that we know are nearby? >> what am i being told about that? >> yes, governor. >> oh. well, as i said, we do have some damage that's on the ground in the communities. i'm sitting here watching a television right now looking at a tornado that's already hit on the ground and some that are still up in the air coming down. we have communities that have lost homes and damages done.
we have workers and first responders that are already at the sites right now. we're going to be sending all of our people out surveying damage, and there are people out right now surveying that damage. but we're still in the middle of a big storm, so we're trying to warn as many people as we can to pay attention to the weather, be safe and get all of our people strategically out where they need to be, where there's been immediate damage and destruction. >> excellent advice there from the governor of oklahoma, governor mary fallon. governor, thank you for your time in the middle of this challenge for you tonight. we'll keep you updated on tornadoes in oklahoma. as you can see, it's getting windy here, too, in joplin, missouri. weather in the west, in oklahoma, in kansas, coming here tonight. more of the toll here in joplin. the breaking news tonight, the death toll has been increased to 122 now. sure to go higher. when we come back, the pain and emotion for people returning to
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live pictures show you -- this is joplin, missouri. look at the devastation and destruction. people driving by, some of them going back to their homes tonight. this is one glumpimpse, and i'md to say it gets worse when you turn into your neighborhoods. this is a mattress blown into a tree, hanging above a pile of debris that used to be a building. here's another picture. a storm victim opposites on the stairway of joplin's memorial hall as another man holds his i.v. bag. just a few of the powerful images here tonight. we continue to watch the tornadoes on the ground. that's about 22 miles west of joplin. 122 confirmed dead. still looking for 150 people unaccounted for.
president obama is in europe but will be here in joplin on sunday. here's the message he had. >> we're there by your side. we're going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every business is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet. that's my commitment and that's the american people's commitment. >> joplin's emergency management agency says several hundred people were injured by the tornado, among them a 14-year-old boy with an open skull fracture. he was in a pickup truck the tornado literally picked up and slammed into a wall of a home depot store. after six hours of surgery, he's in an induced coma, his father at his side. >> even just the smallest responses give me hope. >> you see him like this, what goes through your mind thinking of what he was before this? >> it really disheartens me a little bit that he's here in this state because i'm used to
seeing him happy and so vibrant. he's a very energetic boy. >> brian todd is with me here now in joplin, joining us live. brian, you listened to that story, one of the many emotional stories of parents who are hoping and praying their children recover, in some cases hoping and praying they can find their missing children. >> that's right, john, and this father really had a perspective on this. he realizes people outside the hospital room may be a little resentful thinking, you got to keep your son, at least, as they continue looking for theirs. he says, i count myself one of the lucky ones. he's looking at a young man in an induced coma, not sure if he's going to live. this father was incredibly measured and stoic. it was really something just to
listen to him and listening to what he described about his son. he plays soccer, he rides horses, such a vibrant young kid. it really got to us when we were there. >> it's a remarkable story. and brian, any sense? what are the doctors telling him to look for? is it 24 hours, 48 hours? when will he know the prognosis? >> with these neurological injuries, the doctor told me they can't give him a timeline right now. he is really looking for every squeeze of the hand, which he does get. he gets an occasional squeeze of the hand. sometimes the young man will kick the side of his bed. the doctors tell us he can hear the conversation. so those are all positive signs that they're really hoping to build upon. there's really no timeline from when they can bring him out of this coma because i think they're waiting for the brain to ease the swelling a little bit. they had to cut the skull open. he lost part of the skull in the accident. so really no timeline on when he might come out of this coma, john. >> brian todd live with us here tonight in joplin.
thank you, brian. it is so stunning. people that have lived here for decades can't tell where they are in some neighborhoods. residents told they can return to their homes today are trying to find out what they have left of their prized possessions. a teenager that was home alone when the house started shaking and then collapsed. >> i could hear the metal ripping off the walls, and i could hear things flying around, and i couldn't, like, breathe. i thought i was going to die, like -- >> just across the street, they were stunned to see how the tornado ripped through their home and grateful they made a last-minute decision to go camping this weekend. >> the lord told us to go to the lake and go camping even though we couldn't afford it. we went ahead and went, anyways. this is where we would have been. we would have lost someone up there. yeah, we're very thankful, you know, that we weren't here.
>> is that the way the bathroom looked when you weren't here? >> the way the bathroom is, it would have been in your eye because we would have been on top of the kids. or, you know -- i just don't even want to think about it. >> did you guys get ahold of fema yet? >> no. we're still trying to get the important stuff out of our house. >> it hasn't hit me yet. >> when you looked around, what went through your mind? >> well, i was praising the lord because there was still roofs on our houses. then i had a closer look and i realized there weren't roofs on the houses, and i started crying in front of my kids. i've never seen joplin like this before. i went over a block, and i don't understand how people are doing it, i really don't. i don't understand. because i can barely keep it together for myself and see
what's going on with other people. all i care about is souls. i care less about all this stuff. >> you going to be all right? >> oh, yeah. we're doing good. really. this stuff can be replaced. >> just remarkable people. some of the many remarkable people in this community who are keeping their spirits up, keeping their faith despite the devastation and the loss of just about everything they own. let's continue the conversation now with the man on the front lines, the chief of the joplin fire department, mitch randall. chief, let's start with this question. i spoke with the mayor who said the painful shift would have to begin someone tonight, going from search and rescue to the recovery operation, which means you reached the point that you found everybody or those you are going to be find won't be alive. are we at that point? >> no, i don't believe we're at that point and i'm not willing
to give up the search effort as long as there is a possibility that any individual is out there and capable of being rescued or able to be rescued alive. i am not willing to give up and concede that, no. >> we have heard ballpark numbers of 1500 unaccounted for. is that still a rough number you're operating under? do you have a better number than that? >> the unaccounted for i am not keeping track of, i am merely managing the search and rescue efforts. other members of the emergency operations center are taking care of the -- you know, the reported missing, and that's something that i'm not involved with, so i really couldn't speak to that number. >> understood. can you give us a sense of what happened today, the numbers in terms of finding anybody alive today as part of the search and rescue, recovering bodies today? >> yes, we did have actually two
individuals found in two different structures here in town. both were recovered and transported to the hospital alive and for treatment. >> and when we arrived this morning, senator mccatskill told us that she had heard that there were noises at the walmart. they were trying to see if there was someone there. any sense of what happened there? >> we did get a report early this morning that there was a tapping coming from there. we did send in two of the urban search and rescue teams, and that ended up being unfounded. it ended up just being a water leak that had been dripping on some of the material in the rubble, and what sounded like tapping to the folks that were there, but it ended up being, you know, basically an invalid report. >> and chief randall, lastly, just give me a sense of the
number of people you have on the ground here helping with the search operations. >> well, today i've got over 400 firefighter and ems personnel in the search and recovery portion of this. i've also got 200 other volunteers that are out helping the fire and ems crews with the search. soo so i've got a little over 600. and on top of that i've got the different tasks forces from around the area. i had missouri task force one, oklaho oklaho oklahoma task force one, and yesterday we had another task force here. we really appreciate those groups and members of teams here to assist us. without them, we couldn't be as far as we are, and i can't tell you how much we appreciate the outpouring and support for our department and city. >> chief, we appreciate your
time tonight on a busy day. we appreciate you spending time with us. we certainly wish you the best in the hours and days ahead. thank you, sir. we're going to shift from joplin, missouri and go back to the breaking news in oklahoma. on the phone we have sheriff randall edwards. he's with the oklahoma county sheriff's department. you had a tornado touch down in your county. what's the latest, sir? >> we actually had several tornadoes touch down. we've got at least two confirmed fatalities here in canadian county, multiple homes destroyed, we've got multiple injured as well as missing. right now we're conducting search and rescue operations to try to determine exactly how many are missing and how many are injured as well as any other fatalities. >> it's a tough question to ask, but when you say you have search and rescue teams out and
multiple homes damaged, do you have a sense of the universe, if you will, of the number of homes where you're going to be searching tonight? >> i have no idea. the tornadoes just went through our county less than an hour ago, and it's just too early to tell. i know that we've got multiple residential areas that have homes destroyed in them. i couldn't give you the extent as to how many. >> and have the tornadoes passed through, sir? are your guys out there now? are they in safe conditions or out there now in severe weather? >> no, the tornadoes have passed through our county into northwest oklahoma county at this point. >> they're out there now, you're talking about at least two confirmed fatalities and you know some residential areas have been hit. do you have a sense of people --
often there is gas leaks after something like this or severe power outages after something like this. >> we've got multiple gas leaks. one of our gas plants has a gas leak in the western part of our coun county. we mirror the location of where one of the fatalities were. i don't think the fatality was connected with devin, but i do know there's been a reported gas leak at their plant. >> and folks in your community, sheriff, did they get a good warning that this was coming? >> yes, sir. we've got real good weather tracking here in oklahoma, and we have had warning for those that was monitoring. the sirens blew off here in the county seat, el reno. we had about as much warning as possible considering the circumstances.
it just -- those that were not watching television or out of audible range of the sirens, i'm sure, are the ones that got caught in it. i know that interstate 40 runs through our county, and we've had several injured -- it's up to a dozen that was driving down i-40 that was blown off of i-40. that's one of the fatalities that we have. >> sheriff randall edwards speaking to us from canadian county, oklahoma. tornadoes, plural, passed through that county. we're in joplin, missouri, obviously breaking news in oklahoma. severe weather throughout this region. we're monitoring the severe
storms not only in oklahoma and missouri. we'll keep you posted throughout the hour. up next, a powerful story. a cross is standing here at st. mary's but not much else. we'll tour the school with the principal trying to make sense of this. building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible.
we're standing outside one of the many anchors in this community simply devastated by the tornado. this here, you see the entrance right there, that's the flag of the warriors. the warriors are st. mary's school. that's supposed to be the entrance to the school, and where that air conditioner is, if you can see it over my shoulder, that's the principal's office. the school has been devastated. the school runs this way, the fourth grade, the third grade, the kindergarten. st. mary's catholic school, then the catholic church as well. that's about all that's left of this community.
now, in the rectory over there when the tornado hit was the pastor inside. here's the devastation, here's the storm. he climbs into the bathtub. listen. >> i got into the bathtub face down to try to cover my head, and i heard this noise. and i thought, oh, what is happening? i laid there. i just prayed and said, thy will be done, and i decided to wait until the end of the noise, and then i opened that door and everything was blocking. it was all covered there. >> reverend monaghan trapped inside for nearly an hour before parisioners rescued him. they're talking about jackie jarris who is with us now. you can't even find the rectory. >> you can't.
just the wall in the bathroom. you always here the meteorologist say the bathroom is the safest place to be, so he got in the tub and did just that, and it saved his life. he said he was so covered in rubble, he had to take a piece of wood, not unlike a 2x4 like this stuff sitting around, and he had to hold it in the air so they could see he was there. it took so much time to move pieces off of him and move pieces of wire to get him to safety. unbelievably, not a scratch on him. he said god got him through it. >> a lot of folks said that. when you look at this school and you go through residential neighborhoods, they look a lot like this. the homes are devastated, the winds are picking up, it's getting cloudy. we hear about the threat of more weather here. as someone who does this for a living, what is the sense that if more severe weather comes through here with many of the homes damaged, these people are in trouble? >> these people are in trouble. they really have to get out of these areas. many buildings have been compromised. there's pieces of metal.
it's not going to take a tornado to cause more damage in joplin. 40-mile-an-hour winds can take this insulation and steel beams and cause more problem. you really have to be underground and in a basement and people really need to evacuate the area. they issued a curfew at 9:00, and that's because they think these thunderstorms will be rolling through here after that. >> many people have lived here for decades and they have tornadoes all the time, they say they've never seen anything like this. are we overusing those terms? you're someone who tracks these storms all the time. >> not overusing at all. i've seen a lot of tornadoes. damage? you see spotty damage with tornadoes, a house here, a house there, maybe one line that is devastated, but this is an entire area. all you can see is the cross on top of that church and you can see the hospital, and everything else, it's almost like somebody took a lawn mothwer and moved i all the way through. it's one of the most remarkable things i've ever seen. >> right, people drive up the
street and they say they didn't know where they were because they can't recognize the general markers they usually drive by. fascinating and depressing. >> but a community effort and some good news out of it today. i think that provided a lot of hope and courage for people to hear that someone did survive through the tornado. they're trying to save anything. and a young boy found the pastor's bible today, and he was happy to find that. >> jackie jaris, thank you for that. a lot of faith, a lot of people coming back to this church. a lot of students crying as they came back to the church. a neighbor found on the hill, when he was cleaning up his yard, he found a zipped bag with $500 in it. the name st. mary's church was on it. he walked it up and returned it to the church. we bumped into senator mccaskill. she's saying she's grateful for the attention here now, grateful
for the assistance here now, grateful for the responders looking to see if there's anyone alive, but she says looking from above, she understands the economic devastation here and she's hoping the attention doesn't pass in a few days. >> we went up -- our first chance to get above it, went up with the governor and the head of fema this morning, and it is -- from the air, you get the scope of what happened because you realize that there is this green, and in the middle of the green, there is this wide path. just brown as far as the eye can see. it's -- and frankly, on the ground, you get a sense of the loss that is emotional. the pictures don't do it justice. >> when you see these homes, that one just ripped off the top, in some places the house is gone. >> the top two floors of the hospital are gone, just gone. and you don't see that very often, where a tornado is so
powerful on a building that large will do that kind of damage. a high school from the air is just destroyed. we've got brick houses that are gone. brick houses, not shingled houses. so it's -- and frankly, what worries me is that after the cameras are gone, the economic base of this community has been devastated. think of all the people that work in that hospital. what are they supposed to do? where do they get their paychecks? do the doctors leave town that work in that hospital, and what does that mean to the community of joplin? while we're all focused, as we should be, on the loss of human life and the property damage today, we've got to really get busy with federal help so these businesses get rebuilt and the schools are ready for school in september. there's a lot of work to be done, and we've got to stay on it once this fades from the headlines. >> now where you see us speaking
to senator mccaskill there, the residential neighborhood, there should be a big park there. you could see what's left of the playground, you could see up on the hill of the residential communities, the houses all devastated. imagine trying to assess how much damage has been done beyond the 122 people that were killed, beyond those who were injured, how long it will take to recover. here's mark woolston. >> we had one maybe 20 years ago, but it was not as much damage as this. we're used to tornadoes serks veer weather here. it will take us a while but we'll rebuild. >> you say you're used to them. have you ever seen anything like that? >> we're used to tornadoes. we're not used to that level of damage. >> that's a gar that's been jerked like a toy. >> in my driving around in the city and over flying the city, there are a hundred cars like that around town. this parking lot over here
probably has 50. it's going to be a big effort to clean up, but we'll get there. >> what have you learned about your community in the last 48 hours? >> they're a pretty tough group. of course, we had shelters open for people who lost their homes, that kind of thing. didn't have a lot of folks staying in the shelter the first night or two given the structures we think are damaged. we think they've been taken in by family, they've been taken in by friends, i'm sure there are some taken in by kmecomplete strangers. this community will reach out to help their neighbors, and that's very rewarding to see. >> where were you when this happened? >> i was at my home in the northeast part of town. i heard the sirens, didn't think the weather looked too bad. i stood out on my front porch and literally heard the storm about a half mile south of my home. i suffered no damage and i'm realizing today how terribly lucky i was. >> take me through that. you're the mayor, you're at home, and you think, okay, it's bad, but -- how did it first start to come to you, first
reports, second reports where you think, oh, my. >> i heard the radio, heard sigthe sirens. i stepped out, it was range pretty hard, but i didn't think much about that. i started hearing news reports, so i left and went down to the emergency operations center which was already set up, and then began getting reports of the damage and took some vehicle tours during the night sunday night. could see some of the damage, but because of the darkness difficult to see the extent. and then after looking in the daylight, you begin to realize how extreme it is. >> did you see the house tilted like that and how the top of the house is just blown off? >> yeah. >> you say you've had tornadoes before, but anything that looks like this? >> nothing with this level of damage. >> in turn you say some have not
been found, or are you fairly confident you have them all? >> i'm fairly confident we've found those who can be found. hard to say depending on the building they're in at the time. i just want to make sure we make every effort to find people that we can while they're still alive. my fear, i guess, is that we won't be able to get to someplace in time and they expire before we can get to them. you'll never know what that number is, if any, but that's a concern. >> thanks again. >> you bet. >> appreciate it. >> thanks, john. that's mayor mike woolston. more severe weather expected in joplin tonight. also severe weather in oklahoma. deadly tornadoes. at least two injured there in the oklahoma city area. when we come back, other big headlines including the president overseas dining with the queen. choice for my patients
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thunderous explosions tonight. they come after the start of the nato mission. president obama join queen elizabeth and members of the royal family for a state banquet evening in london tonight. the president addresses parliament tomorrow. a pentagon spokesman confirms wreckage used in the osama raid. pictures of the wreckage reveal there is quality. prime minister benjamin netanyahu made a speech to the joint members of congress. >> congratulations, america. congratulations, mr. president. you got bin laden. good riddance! >> up next, john king, more from him in joplin, missouri. he'll speak with missouri congressman about the devastation and the cleanup. [ male announcer ] bridgestone is using natural rubber,
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back live in joplin, missouri, tonight, 48 hours now since the deadly tornado hit here. congressman billy long has been touring his district, his community today. you had a view from up above, an aerial tour today. >> we took a helicopter view. >> walk us through it when you look down. >> it just adds to the magnitude of it. you see the devastation on the ground, when you tour on the ground, which we did all day yesterday. but when you get up in the air from a helicopter, you see the true magnitude, a half mile
wide, six miles long, just absolutely devastating. like everything was cleared cut. just reminds me of a movie set of a nuclear disaster. looks like a nuclear bomb went off. >> 122 confirmed dead, 1,500 still accounted for. what's the greatest need in this area? >> we need to find survivors. we found two today and there are still survivors out there and we had 400 to 500 first responders out all day today, digging and looking and so we still feel confident there are people to be rescued and those people need to be rescued. >> you still feel confident, because that becomes a debate. it's sad, it's a tough conversation to have, but it becomes a debate. >> the window's closing, but we need to keep after it, because i still have confidence. there's so many structures, 8,000 structures destroyed and there's some that they haven't gotten to the basements of yet. so we still hold out hope that we can find some of the missing.
>> what is the vulnerability of this community. as the winds pick up tonight, and we know there's more weather coming, we can't be quite sure what it's going to be, will it just be thunderstorms, will there be more tornadoes? we're in a devastated stretch here. you can go a few blocks that way, and there are people whose homes who have been barely touched or barely touched at all, but if you get severe weather with all this debris and metal, what happens? >> all we can do is pray that it doesn't hit here again and be hopeful of that. >> and the president's going to come on sunday? >> yes, the president, the governor, both senators, myself have all said the same thing. we're going to do everything possible to rebuild joplin, missouri, and we're going to stay on the task. when the tv crews roll out and the radio stations go away, joplin, missouri, will still be here, and it's going to be a long, long process, but it's a very close-knit community. and when you only have 50,000 people and you're close-knit and lose 122 people, everyone in the
community was touched by that. so it's just -- it's truly devastating. but we need to give them home, we need to be here, show them we care, and let them know where we can go for assistance. where do you get your mail delivered? you're one of those 8,000 people, you have medicine coming in the mail, how do you get your mail delivered when you don't have a home anymore? >> do you have a shelter? do you have needs in that way? >> the shelter's in good shape. we have 144 the other night at the red cross. the red cross has been phenomenal. everyone, fema, give them a tip of the hat, on a scale of 1 to 10, i give them a 12. the day i started driving down here yesterday morning, the governor had already declared it a disaster area and fema hit the ground shortly after that. the white house liaison called me and said, you'll have anything you need. so fema's been great, the local folks have been great. everyone just pulling together. >> amid the sadness. that's good to here. so it's good to hear that, congressman. appreciate where are time tonight as we assess this.
>> i appreciate you being here. >> we wish your community the best. we won't go away. we'll come back. i promise you that. when we come back, the latest on the deadly tornados in oklahoma, plus, severe weather coming back to missouri. stay with us. building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. ♪ [ male announcer ] humble beginnings are true beginnings. they are the purest way to gauge success. ♪ maybe the only way to gauge success. but the most powerful thing about humble beginnings is that they are... ♪ ...humbling.
winds picking up theohere a in joplin, missouri, but the more severe weather is in oklahoma. let's go to chad myers in the weather center. >> you had the sheriff or under sheriff of canadian county on a little bit ago. let me show you some pictures. that's what canadian county, oklahoma, looks like right now. there's a storm shelter right there. those people were in that storm shelter when that house literally went away. there are still tornadoes on the ground in oklahoma now, especially up towards oklahoma city, moving up towards tulsa, and also south of oklahoma city, a little bit farther down, from norman down towards pall's valley. think about this for a second, because all of this weather is still moving to the northeast. and john, you are right there. and all of this, an hour or two,
will be up in towards the joplin pittsburg area. this is up from tulsa, right up the turnpike toward i-44, right towards joplin, missouri. you have pieces of plywood on the ground, shingles on the ground. a 60-mile-per-hour wind will blow that debris around and create a lot of damage again. and people have to be out of that disaster zone tonight before the weather gets there. because storms that have already tore up all those houses, leaving everything just debris to be picked up by the next storm, even if it's not a tornado, and i probably think it probably won't be a tornado for joplin, things will calm down a little bit by then, but debris will blow around and all the crews need to be out of there. all the rescuers need to be out of there, because it's going to become a dangerous place tonight, john. >> chad myers for us in the severe weather center. he'll be there throughout the night as we track the storms in oklahoma. as chad mentioned, they're moving on to other places, including here. it's a bit more windy in joplin and it's getting more cloudy. they know some weather's coming. we hope chad's right and it's
not severe, because this community is trying to recover. trying to recover amid a great deal of pain. last night when i was still in washington, we met over the satellite steven jones, he's the principal of this school behind me. so when we arrived today, we wanted to come here to get a look at what he described last night, the devastation of this school, and to me, one of the remarkable leaders of this community. >> we found the flag, so we put that up. we're going through things and looking and we found a few things. all of our school files, all of our school records. so we know what grades you got, okay? we can tell you, all right? and i'm pretty sure you're going to be a sixth grader next year. there's a lot that can be salvaged in here. those books look completely dry. >> but no other rooms like this where you still have everything on the walls? >> no, no other room that has walls like this. >> 210 students at st. mary's. that's the cross