Joplin tornado 10 years later: Journalists recount memories after covering the monster storm


JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s been a decade since the deadliest tornado in modern history ripped through Joplin, Missouri.

It’s something that will never be forgotten by the people who survived the storm.

“It was still. Such an eerie feeling overwhelmed us.”

Michele Bogowith, FOX4 Meterologist

It also impacted the journalists who covered it.

FOX4 Meteorologist Michelle Bogowith arrived in Joplin two days after the tornado. Her team moved into place just as the 10 p.m. news began.

She remembers someone handing her a microphone as she went on air. Bogowith said it was pitch black, and she could only see the destruction from the lights of satellite trucks parked nearby.

The next morning she and her team got a firsthand look at the destruction. They worked all morning and night, completing a telethon and raising over $1 million for mid-Missouri to give to the relief effort.

“It looked like a bomb went off. It was hard to fathom.”

Michelle Bogowith, FOX4 Meteorologist

FOX4’s John Holt spent days in Joplin, sharing stories, covering news conferences and letting others know what the community needed as it began a long recovery.

He said it’s the sheer devastation of the tornado that will stay with him.

He also remembers the selflessness of the people in Joplin who either lost everything in the storm or knew someone who did.

“They just feel helpless and want to assist.”

John Holt, FOX4 Anchor

Red Cross volunteers came by and offered the media water, Holt said. When the media told the volunteers to give it to the storm victims, the Red Cross said, “Take it. They just feel helpless and want to assist.”

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The unique conditions were also memorable. FOX4 sent a small army of people to Joplin to cover the story. With nowhere else to go, crews worked out of SUVs and one satellite truck.

FOX4 Meteorologist Joe Lauria said he also had a lot of memories about the day the tornado hit Joplin — and one that he said many people forget.

Lauria said that Lafayette County and the Lexington, Missouri, area was also hit by a tornado that day. It caused damage, but was not as severe as what Joplin experienced.

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