Joplin Update: Tornado's Aftermath
News video shows exterior of station hit by tornado where 20 took refuge
JOPLIN, Mo. -- Killing at least 28 people in Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, a second round of tornadoes and severe weather in the Heartland spared Joplin, Mo., overnight on Tuesday. The city is still reeling from a tornado that devastated the southwestern Missouri community on Sunday, with the death toll now at 125.
A widely circulated video describes some tense moments at a Joplin Fastrip gas station and convenience store as the tornado strikes just after a group of customers and employees take shelter in the store's cooler (click here for CSP Daily News coverage).
Updating that story, KELOLAND-TV reported that the group included Michaela Sieler and her boyfriend, Matt Doerr. As they left their apartment in Webb City to seek safety in Joplin, they found themselves in the path of the storm and sought refuge at the station as they could hear the approaching tornado.
"The fear everybody had was indescribable," Sieler told the news outlet. "I was holding my dog in my hands and praying to God to get us through it and just over and over repeating the same prayer, 'Please, God. Get us through this'."
About two-and-a-half minutes later, 20 people at the gas station climbed out of the debris, unharmed.
Watch new video shows the station after the tornado departed (or click here to view).
"All the trees were stripped. Houses were on fire. [We] truly thought it was the end of the world. Just looking around, it was the worst sight I've ever seen," Sieler said.
Doerr's car was totaled because the roof of the gas station landed on it, said the report. The two walked about three miles through the rubble before someone picked them up and gave them a ride home.
Click herefor an additional update from KWCH-TV, which details the experience of the Ward family, also among the people who took shelter at the station.