Public Information Statement
Statement as of 6:00 am CDT on May 22, 2013
... On this date in weather history...
May 22nd is a date that is notorious for horrific
tornadoes. In 2011... the catastrophic Joplin tornado
roared into history. The enormous EF5 tornado killed
160... making it the seventh deadliest in United States
history and the deadliest since the Southern Plains
tri-state tornado of April 9th... 1947 that killed 181.
About a third of Joplin was destroyed by the 7 mile
long... three quarter mile wide tornado. The destruction
drawing the greatest attention was to Saint John's
medical center where 6 were killed... and to Joplin High
School. The massive vortex lasted 38 minutes from 534 PM
to 612 PM. Many houses were leveled or swept from their
foundations. Damage estimates were around $2.8 billion.
An estimated 1,000 were injured. In 1987... tragedy
struck Saragosa Texas when an F4 tornado virtually wiped
the tiny extreme West Texas town... located about 120
miles east of El Paso... right off the map. The tornado
possessed a track only 3 miles long... but its placement
and timing were horrific. As it entered the west side of
town... the vortex quickly reached just over one half mile
wide. It leveled or destroyed 85 percent of the town.
Vehicles were hurled as far as 900 yards... some of which
were thrown into houses. Of the town's 183
residents... 30 were killed and 121 were injured. The
totals accounted for 82 percent of the town's population.
Of the fatalities... 22 occurred at a head start
graduation ceremony for 4 year Olds. Some of the
fatalities were infants... but most were adults who were
protecting their children. The Saragosa tornado is the
9th deadliest in Texas history. In 2004... the widest
tornado roared into the record books when an F4
monstrosity hit Hallam Nebraska 25 miles southwest of
Lincoln. The path reached an incredible 2.5 miles wide
along a path that was 54 miles long and lasted for 1 hour
and 20 minutes! Considering the track and lifespan... its
surprising that there was only one fatality but 37 were
In 1960... the most powerful earthquake in history
erupted approximately 100 miles off the coast of chile
directly west of valdivia. The ultra mega earthquake
registered a moment magnitude of 9.5 but was preceded by
very powerful earthquakes on the 21st that had moment
magnitudes reaching as high as 7.9 that devastated
Concepcion. The earthquake ruptured a 560-620 mile
segment of the nasca plate which had subducted under the
South American plate. The catastrophic quake triggered
tsunami that traveled across the Pacific to as far away
as Japan... the Philippines and Australia. The highest
tsunami reached around 80 feet that slammed into that
part of the coast bounded by the ports of lebu and Puerto
aisen.A 35-foot tsunami slammed into Hilo
Hawaii... 6,200 miles distant... some 15 hours later where
61 were killed in the middle of the night. It was the
first tsunami for which warnings had been issued.
Anywhere from 1,850 to 2,000 people were killed of which
1,655 were in chile.