- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2011

DUBLIN (AP) — President Obama is being kept up to date on deadly tornadoes in the Midwest as he travels through Europe, the White House said Monday.

Obama aides said the president was briefed several times during his overnight flight from Washington to Dublin, the first stop on a six-day trip. Shortly after arriving in Ireland, Mr. Obama called Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to express his condolences for the loss of life and to offer this thoughts and prayers to those who have been affected.

At least 89 people were killed in the southwestern Missouri town of Joplin, which took a direct hit from Sunday’s storm. Local officials said the twister cut a path nearly six miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town.

The storm system spawned tornadoes from Oklahoma to Wisconsin. At least one person was killed in Minneapolis.

The White House said Mr. Obama is sending Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to Missouri to help coordinate disaster response and recovery efforts. Mr. Obama also asked his staff back in Washington to stay in touch with state and local officials in the affected states.