John L. Ford, managing editor, Neosho Daily News
City of residence: Neosho, Mo., but Joplin is my hometown. My old neighborhood is in south Joplin, just a few blocks from St. John's Regional Medical Center. The park I played in as a child, Cunningham Park, is near the hospital and was severely damaged in the storm.
Where were you when the storm hit?: On the way back from covering a graduation ceremony at McDonald County High School in Anderson. I was changing stations on the truck's radio, and heard that sirens had been sounded in Joplin. By the time I got to Neosho, the storm had hit Joplin.
What's life like in the Joplin area now?: Miserable. Monday afternoon, another severe thunderstorm moved through the area, hampering rescue and recovery efforts. Many people have been seen carrying suitcases, laundry baskets and trash bags full of belongings, whatever they were able to salvage. Transportation remains snarled in some areas, as debris chokes roads. Many people have lost everything and are homeless. Some only have the clothes on their backs.
We have been fortunate in Neosho: just rain, rain and more rain. McDonald County to the south of us was also stricken by a tornado, but emergency management personnel are much more worried about flooding, as the twister there was in a rural area. Shelters are full, emergency triage centers are overflowing, and motels around the area are filling up fast.