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Weather Channel’s Chase Team Finds Death, Devastation in Joplin, MO

The Weather Channel’s Mike Bettes and his crew have been dubbed “The Chase Team.” This Spring they have been criss-crossing tornado alley in search of nights like tonight. But what they found on arrival, even shook them.

A monster tornado — perhaps a half mile wide — slammed Joplin, MO at 6pm leaving destruction in its wake; countless homes, a high school, a firehouse; blowing out the windows and tearing back the roof of the the 10-story St. John’s Medical Center, leaving it incapable of treating the wounded or able to continue care for those already admitted.

Bettes was one of the first on the scene after the tornado had passed and has been doing multiple live reports tonight. When he’s not on the air, the Chase Team is sending a livestream of Bettes’ live location on Weather.com. Bettes reported that when he arrived firefighters were climbing out of the debris of their firehouse which had been destroyed. He was overcome with emotion during one report.

CNN produced a live hour of news at 9pmET, pre-empting a reair of “Piers Morgan Tonight” and continued to cover the aftermath at 10pm, but CNN is relying limited video, photo submissions and phone interviews. Fox News has reported the news in cut-ins. And because The Weather Channel is part-owned by NBCU, MSNBC is using Bettes’ video in its Sunday night news cut-ins. Unedited Weather Channel video in the immediate aftermath, after the jump…

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