2011 December Blogging Challenge. Day 31, Good Bye 2011!! The Year of the Joplin Tornado!

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri

 Happy New Year 

Good Bye 2011!!  The Year of the Joplin Tornado!

 2011 December Blogging Challenge. Day 31, Blog 24

2011 is winding down and in a few hours it will be 2012!  This past year has been a rough year here in Joplin, Missouri.

The days preceeding May 22, the day the EF5 tornado totally destroyed about 33% of the town, is hard to remember.  When ask about events before the tornado we all have to stop and really concentrate to come up with anything.

One of the 2 major hospitals (7 stories) is gone.  Our high school is gone.  One brand new middle school is in the process of being torn down.  3 grade schools are gone.  One Catholic grade school is gone along with one Catholic church.  10 or 12 total churches were destroyed.  A large super center Walmart was destroyed along with Home Depot, 2 Walgreens, Academy Sports, Wendys, 3 or 4 pizza places, Sonic Drive In, many convenience stores and the list goes on and on. 

The final count of loss of life stands at 161.  This figure alone is totally amazing.  It is really hard to believe that more lives were not lost when viewing the devastation.

As relief workers poured into town they were all amazed first by the total devastation and second by the fact that in a two day time period all streets were cleared of trees and drivable.  The interstates into town were filled with caravans of pick up trucks and heavy equipment all headed to Joplin.   One of the Fema workers wanted to know if everyone in town owned a chain saw!

Walgreens was totaled, torn down, debri removed and rebuilt in about 6 weeks.  Walmart said they would be open for black Friday but were ahead of schedule with an opening by November 1. 

The Joplin School superintendent stated the day after the storm that school would start on time.  This was at a time when no one knew where they could even locate a facility for the high school, middle school or the grade schools.  It was a giant goal that was met to the wonder of all. 

The count for the number of homes destroyed was around 7000 plus 1000 apartments for a total of 8000 'doors'.  For us in real estate it was totally unbelievable!!  By the end of the first week every available rental that was still standing was rented.

By the end of the second week every vacant house that was on the market and still standing was sold.  Of course the first thing we had to do was take inventory of what listings were still standing and which ones were gone.  MLS was not very dependable for a while.  

Today, seven months after the tornado our city manager announced that building permits have been issued for  50% of the destroyed homes and businesses.  A number of new homes have been built.  Extreme Home Makeover came to town and built 7 homes in 7 days.  That show will air January 13, 2012.

Habitat for Humanity has built 10 homes in about 2 weeks and plan on doing more.  They have teamed up with Habitat from Tulsa.   

The outpouring of help and support at times have been overwhelming but so very much appreciated.  Our realtor community checked to make sure everyone was okay.  A number of realtors lost their homes and one young man was killed protecting his wife. 

Hundreds of cars were lost.  The insurance would not pay off on those that were missing.  People were looking everywhere just to locate their damaged cars.  It was truly a nightmare with things happening that you could not even imagine!!!

We are slowly but surely getting back to business but I doubt we will ever be able to say we are back to 'normal'.  One of the overworked phrases for this year nation wide is the 'new normal' but in our case that is what it will be for years to come.

Our hopes for 2012 is for peace, happiness, health and a calmer year.  We have had our dose of a wild year and one is enough!!

Happy New Year to all the 'Rainers'!!!

New Year House

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2011 December 31 Day Posting Challenge Group
Tags:
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Rainmaker
588,465
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi Barbara - It seems that everyone has good reasons to want this horrible year over with!  There have been some good things, but all I've heard are people's relief that we can say goodbye to 2011.  We lost family members, others had financial devastation, and some like you and your neighbors have had terrible natural disasters.  Hurry up 2012 - we welcome you with open arms!

Dec 31, 2011 12:36 PM #1
Rainmaker
588,465
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

I should have added that the people of Joplin and their neighbors are amazing in what they have been able to accomplish.  It couldn't have been easy.

Dec 31, 2011 12:39 PM #2
Rainmaker
324,603
Barbara Calwhite
Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri - Joplin, MO
417-438-7387 Specializing in Relocation

Thank you Susan.  It has been quite an experience and the people have been great!!

Dec 31, 2011 12:46 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,115,854
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I can't even begin to imagine how something like that affects both your business and personal life. Wishing you the best in 2012.

Jan 09, 2012 03:52 AM #4
Rainmaker
324,603
Barbara Calwhite
Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri - Joplin, MO
417-438-7387 Specializing in Relocation

Jim: 

Thanks and best wishes to you too! 

It has been a wild 8 months!  People are still talking about it everywhere you go and telling their experiences.  I know that at some point it will recede in our memories and not be so vivid but right now it is still up front. 

 

 

Jan 09, 2012 11:59 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,036,503
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Barbara - You certainly have had more than your share of a wild year and I hope that 2012 will be much brighter for everyone in your area.

Wow that is not the way you want rental or listing inventory to go down ..... I can't believe the insurance companies won't pay out on missing cars.

Jan 12, 2012 07:19 AM #6
Rainmaker
324,603
Barbara Calwhite
Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri - Joplin, MO
417-438-7387 Specializing in Relocation

There is a lot of construction going on.  The new Home Depot just opened today!  Academy Sports is scheduled to open January 27.

 

The insurance companies did finally pay off on most of the cars.  So many of them were damaged beyond recognition and many were missing the license plates.  It has really been wild.  Thank you for your well wishes for the year.  I hope you have a great year also!!

Jan 12, 2012 12:54 PM #7
Rainmaker
324,603
Barbara Calwhite
Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri - Joplin, MO
417-438-7387 Specializing in Relocation

I just wanted to add that the new Home Depot that just opened is one of the chain's first to have a safe room.  There is also a memorial for the one employee and customers that lost their life that day.

Jan 13, 2012 01:46 AM #8
Rainmaker
1,079,273
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Barbara, I lived in Atlanta when a tornado did serious damage to a house and in Orlando when a tornado did serious damage to a mobile home park and 5 or 6 people died. We lived in Orlando in 2004 during Hurricane Charlie, Frances and Ivan. Even still, it's hard to imagine 33% of a town being destroyed. My sympathies to everyone in Joplin.

Sharon

Jan 13, 2012 03:09 PM #9
Ambassador
595,157
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Barbara, May 22 is our anniversary and we are sitting at home having a nice dinner when the sirens went off. Little did we know what was happening just 50 miles west of us. We almost went to dinner at the Tokyo House in town! Wow, what a change. Our church helped rebuild some homes there and many of our members  were part of the extreme makeover. It will forever change the face of you town. Thanks Barbara for your subscription! I really appreciate it.

Jan 21, 2012 01:19 AM #10
Rainer
154,420
James A. Browning
Browning Real Estate School/REO Institute - International, IT
MRE REOCertified(R) SSCertified

Thank you for sharing your blog; we need Real estate Professionals to share their comments and information regarding their markets and experiences. Thanks again from beautiful Colorado

Please, check out our website for Real Estate Education Opportunities @ www.REOInstituteColorado.com for Continuing Education Courses.

Jul 03, 2012 02:55 AM #11
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Rainmaker
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Barbara Calwhite

417-438-7387 Specializing in Relocation
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