Officials said that the death toll may increase as hundreds of people were trapped inside the debris in different parts of the city. Local media reported that tornado hit the Joplin town directly, causing massive destruction on houses and buildings.
Tornado, which charged through parts of the US midwest, struck the city of Joplin on Sunday afternoon, affecting more than 50,000 residents.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and warned more storms are on the way. He said storms had caused extensive damage across the state. He warned Missourians to keep a close eye on the latest weather information.
"As a state, we are deploying every agency and resource available to keep Missouri families safe, search for the missing, provide emergency medical care, and begin to recover. I urge Missourians to keep a close eye on the latest weather information and to follow the instructions and warnings of emergency personnel as these deadly storms continue to move through our state," BBC quoted him as saying.
Red Cross opened a shelter at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin for victims.
United States President Barack Obama sent a condolence message to the victims. Obama's statement reads, “Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the tornadoes and severe weather that struck Joplin, Missouri, as well as communities across the Midwest today."