The catastrophic tornado that leveled large sections of Joplin, Missouri, did an estimated $2.8 billion dollars worth of damage in a matter of minutes on May 22, 2011. This month, the city is approaching a rebuilding milestone: building permits in Joplin have totaled almost a billion dollars in the 29 months since the storm, reports the Joplin Globe ("Joplin building permits close to $1 billion since tornado," by Wally Kennedy).

"Records kept by the city show that the city has issued permits totaling about $970.8 million in the 29 months since the tornado, according to Bryan Wicklund, a city building inspector," the paper reports. "The $970.8 million is based on permits totaling $177.7 million after the tornado in 2011, permits totaling a record $554.8 million in fiscal 2012, and permits totaling $238.3 million in fiscal 2013. The permits were for demolition, residential repairs, new houses, commercial projects and multifamily buildings."

"The Joplin list includes 1,801 demolition permits, 4,418 permits for residential repairs and rebuilding, 1,119 permits for new homes, 614 permits for commercial projects, and 200 permits for multifamily repairs and rebuilding," the report says. "Wicklund said 'a very high percentage' of those permits could be attributed to the tornado. Records show that about one-third of the new homes have been constructed in the tornado zone."