UPDATED: 4:15 p.m. Monday
Rescue workers with the are in Joplin helping with rescue and recovery efforts after a deadly tornado tore through the town.
Local emergency agencies called out strike teams of rescue workers Sunday night after the tornado hit, leveling businesses and damaging a hospital in Joplin.
Crews are searching for survivors Monday, as the the death toll from the tornado rises.
West County EMS and Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Jeff Sadtler toldTown and Country-Manchester Patch they are typically put on alert when they know storms are coming in, and then they react depending on the outcome.
"I got called last night about nine-o-clock that we were deploying people right away. It usually doesn't take long," Sadtler said. "Then I got another call that we were deploying more people this morning."
As of late Monday afternoon, CNN is reporting a total of 116 people are confirmed dead as a result of Sunday's tornado. According to CNN, the death toll from the Joplin twister is tied for the second highest in the United States since 1950 when the National Weather Service began keeping such tornado records.
The tornado hit St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin and caused significant destruction throughout the area.
“We don’t know whether the Joplin tornado will be the worst in Missouri history,” said Ben Miller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s (NWS) St. Louis Office. “It’s too early to say because we don’t have all the information yet.”
Sadtler said he's spoken with the West Country crews in Joplin as they are helping with search and rescue efforts.
"They said it's pretty much flattened. It's devastating. There's not a whole lot left where the tornadoes hit. It's just flat," Sadtler said. "I know that there are ongoing storms that they are dealing with right now."
Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Joplin and deployed the National Guard. Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) is coordinating state and local responders through regional mutual aid agreements and requests filed with the agency.
NWS meteorologist Ben Miller said Missouri's tornado season is from March through June.
“But we can and do have tornadoes at other times of the year like we did on New Year’s Eve, and storms typically tend to be a lot stronger during the colder months,” he said.
Pat Guinan, a climatologist at the University of Missouri Extension’s Commercial Agriculture Program, said Missouri averages 32 tornadoes a year.
He said the state’s deadliest tornado occurred in St. Louis on May 27, 1896 when 137 people were killed and 800 injured.
Listed below are Missouri tornado statistics for the last five years from the National Weather Service.2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 Total MO Tornadoes 65 45 93 42 102 32 Deaths 4* 3 19 3 13 1 Injuries 19 11 232 3 273 7
* There was one death that occured in 2011 from the New Year's Eve tornado that hit Fenton in 2010.