COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Twelve years ago, a tornado outbreak struck parts of the midwest and southern United States. This severe weather event would last for 5 days, lead to over 4,000 storm reports, produce 241 confirmed tornadoes, and claim the lives of 178 people.

Of the confirmed tornadoes, 13 were EF3 or greater. The EF-5 that struck Joplin, Missouri killed 158 people and injured over 1,000 people. With winds up to 200 mph, and a maximum width of a mile wide, the tornado demolished over 1/3 of Joplin. This was the deadliest tornado since the 1950s.

Earlier that day a strong low-pressure system was moving across the northern plains. Ahead of this system was very moist, warm air, and behind it, was dry air. This rapid drop in dew point helped to set up the atmosphere for severe weather later that afternoon. If you would like a more in-depth breakdown of the severe weather set up check out this video:

NOAA’s National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center