Shortly after a massive twister struck his city in May 2011, Joplin, Missouri, resident Brandon McCoy described what he saw during what turned out to be one of the worst tornadoes in U.S. history.
“Standing on the sixth floor, I was trying to help a woman out of some debris, and you look outside and, just, everything’s gone,” he told NPR at the time. “Everything. And nobody knew what happened.”
The tornado left a wide swath of destruction in its wake. One hundred fifty-eight people died. Property damage was catastrophic.