One of the worst tornadoes in America history tore through Joplin, Missouri on Sunday night, killing at least 89 people and destroying at least a quarter of the town—an exact count of the devastation was impossible due to the disruption to local infrastructure. Joplin is a mid-sized community of approximately 50,000 people. And for a variety of reasons, the tornado ended up being documented by social media much more extensively than by national news television networks.
Residents found phone lines destroyed or choked with traffic. But text messages and social media weathered the storm.