Spotted this on my way to work:
Monster Oklahoma tornado kills 51
Major damage in Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, including two elementary schools destroyed. At least 120 injuries reported.
A massive, mile-wide tornado with winds up to 200 mph killed at least 51 people Monday afternoon during 40 terrifying minutes of destruction across southern Oklahoma City and its suburbs. The state medical examiner’s office confirmed the number of deaths and said the toll was expected to rise.
Catastrophic damage was reported in Moore, where two elementary schools were destroyed, including one that took a direct hit. Several children were pulled alive from the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary, but there were no immediate reports of rescues or casualties at Briarwood Elementary.
Three hospitals reported treating at least 120 injured, including about 70 children, some from the Plaza Towers school.
At Integris Southwest Medical Center, 10 of 37 patients were in critical condition, a spokeswoman told the Associated Press. The hospital was treating five children, including two rescued from the elementary school. The OU Medical Center was treating 20 patients, including eight children.
More than 60 patients were being treated at Norman Regional Medical Center, some in critical condition, said spokeswoman Kelly Wells. One patient was 9-year-old Kaileigh Hawkins, who was at one of the schools destroyed by the twister, Wells said. She is doing fine, hospital officials have been unable to locate her parents.
The twister heavily damaged Moore Medical Center, ripping off its roof but causing no injuries. Staff had to relocate 30 patients to nearby Norman and another hospital. A water treatment was knocked offline, and residents and businesses in southeastern Oklahoma City were advised to stop using water.
The preliminary rating of the tornado that hit Moore at 3:17 p.m. CT (4:17 p.m. T) is at least an EF-4, which means wind speeds from 166 to 200 mph, the National Weather Service said.
On May 3, 1999, a record-setting EF-5 tornado obliterated the city of 55,000 with winds measured at 318 mph, the highest ever on the earth’s surface. The storm killed 36 people, injured hundreds, and caused about $1 billion in damages.
The National Weather Service in Norman, Okla., said a tornado warning was in effect Monday afternoon for 16 minutes before the twister developed.
VIDEO: Time lapse of tornado
Rescuers are “going house to house and block to block to try and find any survivors that are out there and trapped,” said state emergency management spokesman Jerry Lojka. “We can only imagine that there are still many others there that are unaccounted for,” he said.
Lojka said emergency management officials were working from an underground command center in Oklahoma City and did not yet know how many students were in the two elementary schools in Moore that were destroyed.
Article Credits:USA Today
My heart goes out to the lives that have been lost today.