JOPLIN, Mo. —
A recording of the first 36 minutes of emergency dispatch traffic shows that the Joplin Police Department apparently lost some radio transmission capability during the storm.
It also shows that police feared a riot by victims of the EF-5 twister at St. John’s Regional Medical Center if more rescue workers did not arrive quickly to help the injured and to evacuate the heavily damaged building.
The tape starts with the broadcast of a National Weather Service tornado warning for an area 10 miles west of Carl Junction around the state line.
The first sighting near Joplin is two minutes and 20 seconds later at 20th Street and Black Cat Road.
Four minutes and seven seconds in the tape, there is the first warning that a tornado is on the ground and it is reported at 20th Street and Maiden Lane.
The remainder of the tape illustrates the progression of damage down 26th and 20th streets from Main Street to Connecticut Avenue, Range Line and beyond to Duquesne. It also shows the difficulties faced by emergency workers trying to get through the debris to respond.