Joplin Death Toll at 116 Making It Deadliest Tornado in Nearly 60 Years


Storms Rattle Midwest

Midwest residents were cleaning up Sunday after several tornadoes Saturday left one man dead and one Kansas town nearly destroyed.

At least 20 tornadoes were reported across three states Saturday: 14 in Kansas, five in Oklahoma, and one in Missouri.

In the small town of Reading, Kan., twisters ripped through the area and left more than 20 homes destroyed and 200 more damaged.

"Lots of damage all over town, the farther south in town the more damage there is. Lots of trees down, large trees, there's buildings that have been totally devastated," said Coffee County Emergency Coordinator Russel Stukey.

One fatality and several injuries were reported in connection with the twisters, according to authorities.

"Everything is destroyed. We're going to have to stay strong for the community," one resident told Kansas City ABC News affiliate KMBC.

Power was knocked out Saturday and roads in and out of area were closed, KMBC reported.

According to Sharon Watson with the Kansas State Division of Emergency Management, there was also hail as large as a baseball reported throughout northeast part of the state.

"We've been fortunate so far to not have as much damage as we have seen in the past, such as the year 2007 when the town of Greensburg was basically destroyed, a town of 1,500," Watson said.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency for at least 16 counties.

Although there have already been several devastating tornadoes this year, experts have seen no indication of an upward trend in either tornado intensity or numbers.

"There is very little increase in the total number of tornadoes and we don't see any increase in the number of violent tornadoes," Greg Carbin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center, told ABC News. "It's just that these things are coming and they're very rare and extreme and they happen to be hitting populated areas. So right now no indication of an upward trend in the strong to violent tornadoes that we're seeing."

NOAA says the main cause for the tornadoes this year has been a prolonged stretch of warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico, which has been colliding with cooling air, creating ripe conditions for tornadoes.

ABC News' Jackie Meretsky and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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