MOORE, Okla. – A monstrous tornado at least 800 metres wide roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs, flattening entire neighbourhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow.
The state medical examiner’s office has revised the death toll from a tornado in an Oklahoma City suburb to 24 people, including seven children.
Spokeswoman Amy Elliot said Tuesday morning that she believes some victims were counted twice in the early chaos of the storm. Authorities said initially that as many as 51 people were dead, including 20 children.
Teachers carry children away from Briarwood Elementary school after a tornado destroyed the school in south Oklahoma City, Monday, May 20, 2013. AP Photo
A woman is pulled out from under tornado debris at the Plaza Towers School in Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. AP Photo
Rachel Hilton holds stray kittens she found in the debris of her parents’ home at SW 149th and Stone Meadows Dr. after a tornado struck south Oklahoma City and Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. AP Photo
The ferocious storm – less than 1 per cent of all tornadoes reach such wind speed – ripped through the suburb of Moore in a Midwest region of the U.S. known as Tornado Alley.
Spotlights bore down on massive piles of shredded cinder block, insulation and metal as crews worked through the night early Tuesday lifting bricks and parts of collapsed walls. Rescuers walked through neighbourhoods where Monday’s powerful twister flattened home after home and stripped leaves off of trees to see if they could hear any voices calling out from the rubble.
Flipped vehicles are piled up outside the heavily damaged Moore Medical Center after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 20, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. Getty Images
Dana Ulepich searches inside a room left standing at the back of her house destroyed after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 20, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. Getty Images
Rescuers recover a horse from the remains of a day care center and destroyed barns, Monday, May 20, 2013 in Moore, Okla. AP Photo
A woman carries a child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. AP Photo
Two men attempt to pry open a door on this car to check for victims in a business parking lot west of I-35 south of 4th Street in Moore, on Monday, May 20, 2013. Getty Images
© 2013 Shaw Media