Another killer storm leaves the town of Joplin MO demolished and 89 dead. This is the beginning of storm season and there seems to be no break. Huge storms spawning multiple tornadoes sprouting up all across the midwest on a regular basis have been menacing large portions of the rural and city populations.

A massive tornado that tore through the southwest Missouri city of Joplin killed at least 89 people, but authorities warned that the death toll could climb Monday as search and rescuers continued their work at sunrise.

City manager Mark Rohr announced the number of known dead at a pre-dawn news conference outside the wreckage of a hospital that took a direct hit from Sunday's storm. Rohr said the twister cut a path nearly 6 miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town, adding that tornado sirens gave residents about a 20-minute warning before the tornado touched down on the city's west side.

Much of the city's south side was leveled, with churches, schools, businesses and homes reduced to ruins.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said around 2,000 buildings were destroyed as the twister swept through this city of about 50,000 people some 160 miles south of Kansas City.

"It is a dramatic and devastating storm," Nixon said in an interview Monday with Fox News.

An unknown number of people were injured in the storm, and officials said patients were scattered to any nearby hospitals that could take them.

Authorities planned to conduct a door-to-door search of the damaged area Monday morning, but were expected to move gingerly around downed power lines, jagged debris and a series of gas leaks that caused fires around the city overnight.

"We will recover and come back stronger than we are today," Rohr said defiantly of his city's future.

Early Monday, Nixon said fires from gas leaks still burned across the city.

Residents said the damage was breathtaking in scope.

"You see pictures of World War II, the devastation and all that with the bombing. That's really what it looked like," said Kerry Sachetta, the principal of a flattened Joplin High School. "I couldn't even make out the side of the building. It was total devastation in my view. I just couldn't believe what I saw."