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One Year Since the Joplin Tornado

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One year ago, the small town of Joplin, Missouri, was devastated by an EF5 Tornado. A mile-wide multiple-vortex tornado, with estimated winds peaking at 362 to 402 km/h (225 to 250 mph), tore through the area on May 22, destroying more than 7,000 houses, killing 161 people, and injuring hundreds more. The task of rebuilding is underway, but the scale is daunting -- a year later, Joplin still has an eight-mile scar running through its middle. Gathered here are images of the town on this somber anniversary. [See also, Tornado Ravages Joplin, Missouri, from last year.] [30 photos]

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A tall steel cross is refracted in raindrops on a window in Joplin, Missouri, on May 7, 2012. The cross is all that was left standing of St. Mary's Catholic Church, which was destroyed by an EF-5 tornado that tore through a large swath of the city and killed 161 people nearly a year ago. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
A tall steel cross is refracted in raindrops on a window in Joplin, Missouri, on May 7, 2012. The cross is all that was left standing of St. Mary's Catholic Church, which was destroyed by an EF-5 tornado that tore through a large swath of the city and killed 161 people nearly a year ago. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
People walk together during a city-sponsored Walk of Unity through the area that was ravaged by a massive tornado one year ago today, on May 22, 2012 in Joplin, Missouri. One year later there are signs that the town is beginning to recover. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
Thousands of people walk the path of destruction of last year's deadly tornado in Joplin, on May 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Joplin firefighters bow their heads during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that killed 161 people in Joplin, on May 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Marilyn Sixx, right, hugs her son, Chris Sixx, during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of last year's tornado in Joplin, on May 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Maggie Ward, 7, climbs on a monument to volunteers in a Joplin park across the street from the former St. John's Regional Medical center, on May 8, 2012. The park and hospital were both destroyed after a tornado tore through the city nearly a year ago. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
The scene in Joplin one year ago. Maddie Meek, 9, and her mother Dina Meek salvage what they can from her sister-in-law's home after it was destroyed when a massive tornado struck. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
The scene in Joplin now. Vacant lots and homes under construction, on May 17, 2012. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Workers construct a home in Joplin, on May 16, 2012. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
From left, Morgan Osburn, David Hoosier, and Kim Hoosier spend a quiet moment together in front of a memorial built for their friend Lance Hare who was killed when the town was hit by a massive tornado, on May 20, 2012 in Joplin, Missouri. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
A huge ring, part of a memorial for tornado victims, photographed in Joplin, on May 16, 2012. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Autumn Achey rides her bike through a park in Joplin, on May 16, 2012. Autumn was severely injured in last year's tornado, when she was ejected from her mother's car, but has made a full recovery. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Members of the Class of 2012 at the Joplin High School commencement ceremony, on Monday, May 21, 2012, at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) #
President Barack Obama, after delivering the Joplin High School commencement address, on May 21, 2012, in Joplin, Missouri. (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star,) #
Groundwork is done for the new Mercy Hospital Joplin a couple of miles south of the former St. John's Regional Medical center it replaces in Joplin, Missouri, on May 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
A cross stands where a home once stood before it was destroyed when a tornado hit almost one year before, on May 19, 2012 in Joplin, Missouri. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
Malachi Murdock talks about injuries he sustained when he was caught in last year's tornado in Joplin, while his mother, Susan looks on. Murdock spoke at a sunrise service Tuesday, May 22, 2011 which was the first of a variety events in Joplin to mark the one-year anniversary of the tornado. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
A tattered flag shows a years worth of wear as it hangs from the remains of a destroyed home in Joplin, on May 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Cary Caylor displays items he found with a metal detector in front of his brother's destroyed home in Joplin, on August 18, 2011. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Codessa Schoonover spends time remembering her grandmother as she sits on what remains of the tree in front of the home her grandmother was killed in when a tornado hit the home a year ago, in Joplin, on May 19, 2012. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
A cross stands in Joplin, Missouri, on May 17, 2012. The cross is all that remains of St. Mary's Catholic Church, which was destroyed by the deadly tornado one year ago. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Zach Abrams plays basketball outside his families FEMA trailer that they live in, after their home was destroyed when a tornado hit the city one year ago on May 22, 2012 in Joplin, Missouri. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
Ashlyn Griffberg, Sierra Roper and Samantha Vance from the Sensations Performing Arts Studio pray together in Cunningham Park during ceremony that included a moment of silence at 5:41 p.m. -- the time the monstrous tornado first hit the city a year ago, on May 22, 2012 in Joplin, Missouri. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
Camryn Dean, 7, plays in a newly built tornado shelter behind her mother's rebuilt home in the heart of what was once nothing but debris and destroyed homes after a tornado hit the neighborhood almost one year ago in Joplin, Missouri, on May 19, 2012. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
Artists Emily Frankoski (left) and Dolores Bilke paint a tornado damaged tree in Joplin, on May 16, 2012. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Blair Irvin Jr. plays with his son Blair Irvin III and daughter Jada Irvin on a playground at a FEMA trailer park for displaced tornado victims in Joplin, on May 16, 2012. The three rode out the storm in their apartment and are now waiting for construction to be completed on their home. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
A mostly cleared neighborhood in Joplin, on May 16, 2012. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Family members celebrate the first birthday of Maliah Winnett in Joplin, on May 15, 2012. Maliah, who was one week old when the tornado struck, rode out the storm with her parents John Winnett and Juanita Travis, and the family said they are now living in a home rebuilt by Habitat for Humanity. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Workers build a home in Joplin, Missouri, on January 19, 2012. At the time, the city had issued nearly 4,000 building permits to homeowners since the tornado hit in May of 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
A modified sign stands in front of the rubble of a high school in Joplin, on May 17, 2012. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Peggy Gettler (2nd from right), who lost her daughter nearly a year ago to the deadly tornado, hugs a volunteer in Joplin, on May 17, 2012. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
The sun sets behind the gutted remains of the old St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, 2012. The hospital was destroyed a year ago by the massive tornado as it cut through Joplin. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

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