The death toll from the monster tornado last week in Missouri has risen by seven to at least 142, city spokeswoman Lynn Onstot said today. That makes this the deadliest year for tornadoes in the US since 1950, based on an assessment of figures from the National Weather Service. The tornado death toll for 2011 is now 523. Until now, the highest recorded death toll in a single year was 519 in 1953. Missouri says the number of people still unaccounted for since the Joplin tornado is now at 105.
City manager Mark Rohr acknowledged yesterday that there may be "significant overlap" between the confirmed dead and the remainder of the missing list. Still, search and rescue crews were undeterred, with 600 volunteers and 50 dog teams out again across the city. "We're going to be in a search and rescue mode until we remove the last piece of debris," he said. (Read more Joplin tornado stories.)