At 5:34 p.m. on the evening of May 22, 2011, a devastating tornado tore through Joplin, cutting a path of destruction that left 161 people dead and destroyed some 7,500 homes.
Five years later, challenges remain for the southwest Missouri community of 50,000, with many psychological and emotional wounds still unhealed. But the city’s residents have shown resilience in the face of the disaster, and in some ways an uninitiated observer might never know the city had seen such a damaging storm.
Joplin’s landscape today is dotted with new structures: thousands of homes, a high school, grade schools, fire stations and a hospital. A new public library is under construction.
In a city that serves as a regional business hub and sees its population swell during the workday, 90 percent of destroyed or damaged businesses reopened.