Park University News
Kansas City Royals News
Kansas City Chiefs News
Monday, May 30, 2011
By Rachel Atwood
Park University’s School of Business Dean Brad Kleindl, was at his Joplin, MO home when the highest-rated EF5 tornado touched down on Sunday afternoon.
Kleindl told The Luminary that he was sitting on his porch when he heard the second round of sirens and noticed a massive change in weather patterns.
“Something big was coming,” he said.
It was at that point Kleindl took his family to the basement where they waited until the storm had passed. By the time he was able to get an Internet connection that evening, Kleindl was stunned by what he saw on a live feed video from The Weather Channel.
“I couldn’t recognize the neighborhood,” Kleindl said, referring to St. John's Regional Medical Center, which had been destroyed only two miles from his home.
A densely populated part of town had been devastated. The tornado leveled businesses, residential areas, the high school, in addition to the medical center. Kleindl identified the location as the busiest traffic region in Joplin.
According to the city, Joplin has a population of approximately 50,000, but swells nearly five times that during the daytime.
The tornado, which reached three-quarters of a mile wide at points, also brought nearly 200 mile per hour winds, causing adjacent areas to be included in the path of destruction.
“You have to imagine a mile-wide lawnmower going through seven miles,” Kleindl told The Luminary.
Kleindl, who is in the process of moving to Parkville, has more than just cursory knowledge of Joplin. Before being named the dean of Park’s business school in January, Kleindl served as the dean of the Robert W. Plaster School of Business Administration at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.
He said he was impressed with the speed in which workers responded to the disaster.
Joplin police blocked off roads to prevent people from entering the ravaged city early on Monday. Sirens alerted emergency crews to survivors and victims, while the gymnasium was staged as a medical facility and a morgue was set up on campus.
Calling the aftermath “unimaginable,” Kleindl said that approximately 30 percent of the city was damaged and expects recovery to take several years.
Over 230 people are still unaccounted for and 125 dead, a number that is expected to increase as the search continues.