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Longest Traveling Debris Sets Record Joplin Tornado Receipt Flies 525 Miles

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by hearit

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In The News

A paper receipt travels 525 miles from Joplin, Missouri to an Indiana porch--setting the longest recorded journey of debris ever related to a tornado, more than doubling a Kansas record of 1915.
Ernest Agee, a Purdue University professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and tornado expert. Tiz Fritz and her husband made the receipt discovery -- finding a piece of paper dated May 13, 2011, from a purchase made at Joplin Tire in Missouri on May 25 -- four days after the twister touched down in Missouri. The paper receipt found its way to the Fritz's porch in Royal Center, Indiana.
The small piece of paper that traveled more than 525 miles now doubles a previous record for debris from a tornado. "This paper [receipt] traveled more than twice as far as the longest distance recorded for debris from a storm," says Ernest Agee. "The previous record was a cancelled check that traveled 210 miles after the 1915 tornado in Great Bend, Kansas.
The Purdue professor says "the distance paper travels is directly proportional to the intensity of the tornado. This paper's journey is a testament to the strength of the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin [on May 13, 2011] and what that [Missouri] city went through."
The toll on human life -- related to the twisters that have crossed the Midwest and Northeast parts of the nation in 2011 -- is the highest in more than 50 years, since 1953. The tornado that touched down in Joplin, Missouri, on May 21, 2011, is the deadliest since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began record-keeping practices in 1950.
The Joplin twister and resulting, devastating, loss has tragically resulted in 132 residents deceased and 156 still missing as of Friday, May 27. The Missouri tornado destroyed nearly one-third of the city of Joplin, a city of just 50,000 and is now considered the deadliest single twister to hit the United States in 65 years.
To reach the state of Indiana, the paper receipt -- folded into quarters, making the paper one-fourth of its original size -- would've been first sucked into the tornado and then carried through the air by a jet stream to travel for more than 12 hours straight (approximately 12.5 hours of travel, according to Professor Agee's estimate utilizing wind speed and distance traveled for calculation). While the debris from the Joplin tornado was discovered May 25, it's unknown how long the paper receipt was sitting on the home's porch -- or when it physically landed -- before being discovered.


Royal Center, IN 46978
United States
40° 51' 52.146" N, 86° 29' 59.0172" W
Joplin, MO 64801
United States
37° 5' 3.2172" N, 94° 30' 47.8116" W
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