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Picking Up the Pieces: Missouri Tornado Photo Gallery

Associated Press | © 2011 YellowBrix, Inc.

May 24, 2011

JOPLIN, Mo. – A massive tornado that blasted a four-mile path across southwestern Missouri slammed into the city of Joplin with cataclysmic force.

The tornado Sunday night ripped into a hospital, destroyed neighborhoods and upended cars.

An unknown number were killed in Joplin. Officials struggling to communicate without power and cellphone service were leery of putting a hard figure on the death toll.

Asked about a report that 24 people had died, city spokeswoman Lynn Onstot said grimly that officials were “afraid it may be more. … Our fear is that’s a low number.”

The Missouri National Guard was searching for the injured throughout the night.

Caption: Emergency personnel walk through a neighborhood severely damaged by a tornado near the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

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