ST. LOUIS – FOX2 meteorologist Chris Higgins looks back at the Joplin tornado on the ninth anniversary today. Higgins covered the aftermath of the storm in the days that followed. He calls the event.
Higgins started his career in Joplin as the chief meteorologist for the television station KODE. He says as soon as he saw the first report out of there, he saw the damaged hospital and new the images were from downtown Joplin before the reporter even started talking.
Higgins said he knew there were no basements in the area because of the topography. He feared hundreds would be dead. More than 160 people died in that EF-5 storm.
Higgins recalled it was difficult to do his television job while rescue crews were still pulling people from the rubble. He wanted to make sure people in St. Louis understood the scope of the situation. He compared the extent of the damage to if part of Manchester Road was hit, destroying big box stores and blocks of homes on either side.
Higgins says there are still signs of the tornado’s destruction. There are huge stretches of open area where there are no trees and homes are still being rebuilt.