This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
“W


Roy Huntington, Editor, American Handgunner Magazine Photos: Roy Huntington


kids under me, and when the tornado hit, it sounded like a freight train in our liv- ing room. I felt the whole house move as it was dragged across our prop- erty, then suddenly the roof disappeared with a crash, the walls exploded out, the mattress was torn from my grasp, my shirt was ripped off and I was getting pelted by one inch hail. Total time was about 15 seconds.” Kyle, Joplin resident, as told to Roy.


Several years ago my wife, Suzi,


and I moved onto 20 acres just south of Joplin, Mo. Our land is beautiful, with pastures and heavy woods, and we have horses, wild game and all the tools going with country living, like tractors, chainsaws, a whole house generator and 4x4 trucks. Beginning Sunday, May 22, 2011 at about 5:41 p.m., we put much of that to good use when the EF5 tornado hit nearby Jop- lin. Winds of over 200 mph were veri- fied, over 8,000 structures were com- pletely destroyed, and of 6,000 homes, 46 percent were uninsured. Also, there were 155 fatalities. Here’s what I learned.


The Timeline By 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, several fun-


nels were reported in Columbus, Kan., which is west of Joplin. Around 5:10 p.m. multiple tornado funnels were re- ported over Cherokee County. By 5:34 p.m. we were getting 1"-sized hail in Joplin. I was working in the garage and when the lighting, hail and wind hit (I discovered later it was almost 80 mph) I went inside to get Suzi to take a look. “Geez, this is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” she said. We watched 80-foot oak trees bend way too far but we didn’t lose any. The heavy rain, hail and wind lasted until about 6:00 p.m., and then things quieted. Our NOA weather ra- dio had beeped a “tornado alert” but never sounded the emergency tone that a tornado was nearby. Unbeknownst to us, a category EF5


tornado had touched down on the west side of Joplin at approximately


WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM 33


e hid under a mat- tress in the bath- room, with the


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