(CNN) — At least 24 people — including nine children — were killed when a massive tornado struck an area outside Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon, officials said.
Read more: Heartbreaking scenes in Oklahoma City after disaster
At least seven of those children were killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma, police said. Emergency personnel on Tuesday continued to scour the school’s rubble — a scene of twisted I-beams and crumbled cinder blocks.
The tornado was 1.3 miles wide as it moved through Moore, in the southern part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, the National Weather Service said. The estimated peak wind ranged from 200 to 210 mph — which would make it an EF5, the most powerful category of tornadoes possible — according to the agency.
Click here for our latest full story.
A young girl stands among the rubble outside of Briarwood Elementary School on Tuesday, May 21, after an extremely powerful tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday, May 20. The storm was part of a tornado outbreak that began in the Midwest and Plains on Sunday, May 19. View more photos of the aftermath in the region and another gallery of aerial shots of the damage.
A doll covered in dirt is among the rubble scattered throughout a neighborhood in Moore on May 21.
Bonnie Lolofie, left, and Ashley Do carry belongings from their apartment that has no power on May 21.
Residents salvage belongings from their demolished homes in Moore on May 21.
Kelli Kannady weeps after finding a box of photographs of her late husband in the rubble near where her home once stood in Moore on May 21.
Tufts of pink insulation hang from the rafters of a store in Moore on May 21 that was destroyed in the storm.
Natalie Johnson searches through her mother’s destroyed car outside the Briarwood Elementary School in Moore on May 21.
Rescuers dig out a house in Moore, Oklahoma, on May 21, after a massive tornado ripped through the area on Monday, May 20.
June Simson embraces her cat Sammi after she found him standing among the rubble of her destroyed home in Moore on May 21.
A man stands on the roof of a destroyed home in Moore on May 21.
A man helps move a resident’s belongings from a destroyed home on May 21 in Moore.
Air Force Airman First Class Justin Acord sifts through the rubble of his father-in-law’s home in Moore on May 21.
People recover belongings from the rubble of a home in Moore.
People sort through a leveled home in Moore on May 21.
Debris lies among headstones in the Moore Cemetery on May 21.
Workers clean up the Warren Movie Theater in Moore on May 21.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett surveys damage in Moore on May 21.
Piles of debris lie around the north side of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore on May 21.
As dawn breaks, storm clouds roll in over a devastated neighborhood in Moore on May 21.
Members of the Oklahoma National Guard look for survivors in rubble in Moore on May 21.
A National Guardsman assists in the search for victims on May 21.
A rescue worker leads a horse from the wreckage of a day care center and barns on Monday, May 20, in Moore.
Men tie an American flag on debris in a neighborhood off Telephone Road in Moore on May 20.
Children wait for their parents to arrive at Briarwood Elementary School in south Oklahoma City on May 20.
Teachers carry children away from Briarwood Elementary School on May 20.
Teachers lead children away from Briarwood Elementary School on May 20.
A fire official drives through the rubble of Moore Medical Center on May 20.
Abby Madi, left, and Peterson Zatterlee comfort Zatterlee’s dog, Rippy, on Monday, May 20, in Moore.
A woman is treated for her injuries on May 20 at a triage area set up for the wounded.
Two girls stand in rubble in Moore.
Rescue workers help free one of more than a dozen people who were trapped at a medical center in Moore on May 20.
Oklahoma City firefighters check on Gene Tripp on May 20 as he sits in his rocking chair where his home once stood.
A nurse helps an older man who suffered a head injury on May 20 in Moore.
Cars marked with an orange X, meaning they have been checked for occupants, are piled up in front of the entrance to the damaged Moore Medical Center on May 20.
A teacher hugs a student at Briarwood Elementary School in Oklahoma City on May 20.
People look through the wreckage of their neighborhood after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20.
Dana Ulepich searches inside a room left standing at the back of her destroyed house in Moore on May 20.
Residents look through the debris in Moore on May 20.
A man looks through the remains of a home after the massive tornado struck Moore on May 20.
A woman is transported on a stretcher after she was rescued from the damaged medical center in Moore on May 20.
A woman walks through debris in Moore on May 20.
A man is taken away from the IMAX Theater in Moore that was used as a triage center on May 20.
A girl wraps herself in a blanket near the Moore Hospital on May 20.
A nurse walks by the destruction at a Moore hospital on May 20.
Destroyed cars scatter the landscape in Moore, Oklahoma, where hundreds of homes and buildings were put to ruin on May 20.
A woman with an arm injury is helped on May 20 in Moore.
Extensive damage from an EF4 tornado destroyed cars and demolished structures in Moore on May 20.
Onlookers stop to view a portion of the destruction left behind on May 20 in Moore.
Overturned cars are among the rubble from the tornado that hit Moore on May 20.
A woman is comforted after the May 20 tornado in Moore.
A shredded tree stands amid debris in the aftermath of the storm in Moore on May 20.
A shopping center parking lot is covered with debris and damaged cars on May 20.
Law enforcement officers block a roadway in Moore where there was extensive damage from the tornado.
A massive tornado approaches Moore on May 20. The storm first touched down to the west of the city near Newcastle, Oklahoma. Visit CNN.com/impact for ways to help the victims.
Photos: Deadly tornado hits Oklahoma City area
Tornado hits Moore Medical Center
Disaster from the sky in Oklahoma
Haunting footage from storm chasers
– About 2,400 homes were damaged in the Oklahoma cities of Moore and Oklahoma City, said Jerry Lojka of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Some 10,000 people were directly impacted by the tornado, he said.
Follow the severe weather tracker
– Gov. Mary Fallin said the tornado was “one of (the) most horrific storms and disasters that this state has ever faced.” Oklahoma “will get through this. … We will overcome. We will rebuild. We will regain our strength,” she said.
– Officials are working on legislation for an emergency fund that would help the state’s recovery.
– Insurance claims will likely top $1 billion, Kelly Collins of the Oklahoma Insurance Commission told CNN. The cost would be higher than that from the May 3, 1999, tornado that hit the same area.
– Moore Fire Chief Gary Bird said searchers planned to search every affected structure and vehicle three times by Tuesday night.
An aerial view of the destruction caused by the massive tornado that struck areas south of Oklahoma City on Monday, May 20, shows the magnitude of damage left in its path. The storm’s winds topped 200 mph as it carved a 17-mile path of destruction through Oklahoma City suburbs. On Tuesday, May 21, CNN sent photographer David McNeese to capture the story from above:
The storm, which touched down near Newcastle, Oklahoma, spanned 1.3 miles. Some areas along the path were completely flattened.
Officials from the National Weather Service gave the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20 a preliminary EF5 rating — the highest score on the scale that measures tornado intensities.
The tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburbs, hitting the town of Moore the hardest. It packed winds that topped 200 mph.
A search-and-rescue effort to find survivors shifted Tuesday to one of recovery, officials said.
The devastation in Moore was so complete that the mayor said city officials were racing to print new street signs to help guide rescuers and residents through a suddenly twisted and unfamiliar landscape.
A group of homes was reduced to rubble.
Debris from homes and structures was strewn for miles around.
In some areas, the homes of an entire street were destroyed.
Rescuers and first responders immediately began searching through the rubble of structures on May 20.
Large trees were uprooted and flattened.
Given its breadth and power, the tornado ranks among some of the strongest storms ever to strike the United States, CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
Homes in some areas were relatively undamaged while others very nearby were destroyed.
Police, firefighters, volunteers and nearly 180 National Guard troops joined forces Tuesday in searching the rubble and securing areas hit by the storm.
In 1999 and then again in 2003, Moore took direct hits from tornadoes that took eerily similar paths to 2013′s twister. The 1999 storm packed the strongest wind speeds in history, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said.
A section of a bridge outside of Oklahoma City was blown off its foundation.
The path of the tornado is clearly visible with dirt and debris painting a wide path across the Oklahoma landscape.
The scene — block after block of flattened homes and businesses, the gutted remains of a hospital and hits on two elementary schools — left even seasoned veterans of Oklahoma’s infamous tornadoes reeling.
View more galleries: Deadly tornado hits Oklahoma City area and The devastating Oklahoma tornado of 1999.
Photos: The path of destruction from above
A few hours later, Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis told CNN that he doesn’t expect the death toll will rise past 24, saying, “I think that will stand.”
“We feel like we have basically gone from rescue and searching to recovery,” Lewis said.
– Mick Cornett, Oklahoma City mayor, said full electric service should be restored to the Draper Water Treatment Plant on Tuesday. Customers should eventually notice normal water pressure, he said. The storm knocked out power to the plant and authorities put the facility on generator power.
– Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will travel to Oklahoma on Wednesday to meet with state and local officials and “ensure that first responders are receiving the assistance they need in ongoing response and recovery efforts to the severe weather that impacted the region, ” DHS announced. Napolitano also will travel to Joplin for the second anniversary of the devastating tornado that struck that community.
– Kevin Durant, star of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, pledged $1 million through his family foundation to American Red Cross disaster relief efforts in Oklahoma, the Red Cross said Tuesday.
– The tornado tore through a 17-mile path, the National Weather Service said. The agency said survey crews indicated that the twister began 4.4 miles west of the city of Newcastle and ended 4.8 miles east of the city of Moore.
– At least 237 people were injured, the state’s Office of Emergency Management said Tuesday, citing the Health Department.
– Oklahoma officials revised the death toll to 24, down from 51. Nine of the fatalities are children.
– One of those is Janae Hornsby, who was among those killed at Plaza Woods Elementary School, her father told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “She was the best kid anybody could have. She was Janae,” Joshua Hornsby said. “She was a ball of energy, a ball of love.”
– State Rep. Mark McBride, a Republican, said he and his family have endured tornadoes for decades but “this is the worst thing” he’s ever seen.
– President Barack Obama said he doesn’t yet know the “full extent” of the damage. “We don’t know both the human and economic losses that may have occurred,” he said Tuesday. “Oklahoma needs to get everything it needs right away” to recover, he said.
– New York’s governor expressed his sympathy for Oklahomans in the aftermath of the “horrific tornado.” “Here in New York we know firsthand the devastation and pain caused by natural disasters, and in difficult times like these we, more than ever, stand with our fellow Americans,” Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
– The storm system behind Monday’s twister and several on Sunday is threatening a large swath of the United States on Tuesday, putting 53 million people at risk of severe weather. In the bull’s-eye Tuesday are parts of north-central Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and northern Arkansas and Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service.
– Oklahoma first and foremost needs donations to rebuild, Fallin told CNN.
Rescuers search through rubble in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on Monday, May 20. A tornado outbreak hit in the Midwest and Plains on Sunday and Monday, the deadliest hitting Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday.
Massive piles of debris cover the ground after a powerful tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20. View photos related to the Moore tornado.
A deadly tornado destroys cars and demolishes structures in the town of Moore, near Oklahoma City, on Monday, May 20.
A volunteer helps clean up a mobile home on May 20 after it was overturned on a day earlier near Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Jean McAdams’ mobile home near Shawnee, Oklahoma, lies overturned on May 20.
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin from the Oval Office on May 20. The president expressed his concern for those who have been affected by the severe weather.
Tom and Ronda Clark get help with cleanup on May 20, after their property near Shawnee was damaged by a tornado on May 19.
Lonnie Langston says his garage was swept off the concrete pad next to his house by a tornado near Shawnee.
Shawnee residents embrace on May 20 as they search through the remains of their home.
A home in Shawnee sits in ruin after being hit by a tornado on Sunday, May 19.
A twister stretches toward the ground near South Haven, Kansas, on May 19.
Residents repair the roof of a neighbor’s damaged house after a tree fell on it in Shawnee on May 19.
A woman waits to be allowed back to her home after a tornado swept through Shawnee on May 19.
Storm chaser and videographer Brad Mack records a tornado touchdown in South Haven, Kansas, on May 19.
A tractor-trailer lies on its side on Interstate 40 while another is broken open on the road below after falling from the overpass after a tornado strike near Highway 177 north of Shawnee on May 19.
A tornado touches down near Wichita, Kansas, on Sunday, May 19.
Debris from a mobile home park west of Shawnee litters the ground on May 19. An estimated 300 homes were damaged or destroyed across Oklahoma, Red Cross spokesman Ken Garcia said.
Lightning strikes in Clearwater, Kansas, on May 19.
Photos: Tornadoes strike Midwest
Man found neighbor trapped after tornado
Residents survey damage, count blessings
– About 34,000 customers remained without power Tuesday night after a powerful tornado slammed the Oklahoma City region
– Personnel have rescued 101 people from rubble, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management representative Terri Watkins said Tuesday morning. Watkins cited an Oklahoma Highway Patrol tally of rescues from all agencies.
– Some of the children killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, drowned in a basement area there, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb told CNN on Tuesday morning. “My understanding, this school … Plaza Towers, they had a basement. Quite frankly, don’t mean to be graphic, but that’s why some of the children drowned, because they were in the basement area,” he said. Officials have said the storm killed at least seven children at the school.
– Obama signed a disaster declaration Monday night, a White House statement said. The declaration means federal emergency aid will supplement local recovery efforts.
– World leaders, including those in France, Germany, Pakistan and Spain, passed along their condolences. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II expressed her “deepest sympathies” to those affected and Pope Francis urged people to pray for families of those who’ve died, “especially those who lost young children.”
– The three high schools in the school district of Moore still will have graduation ceremonies on Saturday at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Superintendent Susan Pierce said Tuesday.
– Otherwise, though, the city’s public schools will be closed for the rest of the year, school district spokeswoman Anna Trowbridge tells CNN. The last day of school was supposed to be Thursday.
– The superintendent of schools in Joplin, Missouri — which was struck by a tornado in 2011 — is expected to fly to Oklahoma on Tuesday night, said Oklahoma education department spokeswoman Sherry Fair.
Joplin’s C.J. Huff is set to discuss the situation in Moore with the Oklahoma education chief Janet Baresi, on Wednesday.
– Country singer Toby Keith said his sister’s house was among those hit by Monday’s tornado. “She gets to keep her stuff, but her house is not livable,” Keith said.
While there’s no date, lineup or location set, Keith says he’s gotten “500 text messages from people all over the music world” asking about a potential benefit concert.
Tornado brings back terrible memories of 1999
Heartbreaking scenes in Oklahoma City area after twister
CNN’s Joe Sterling, Greg Botelho and AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.
Article source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/20/us/oklahoma-tornado-developments/index.html?eref=edition
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NewsRipplesWeb/~3/unh-dwpB5Dc/latest-updates-we-will-overcome