Monster Tornado Hits Oklahoma

Schools hit as Moore is flattened

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted May 20, 2013 4:14 PM CDT | Updated May 20, 2013 7:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – A two-mile-wide tornado touched down near Oklahoma City today, leveling the suburb of Moore and leaving at least 24 confirmed dead so far, reports ABC News. (The initial figure of 51 was officially revised downward later.) "It is absolutely devastating, this is horrific," Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said. "We're going to have fatalities. ... We're going to have significant injuries. ... We just don't know what those numbers are. Schools have been hit, a hospital has been hit, businesses have been flattened, neighborhoods have been wiped away—we don't have the numbers in yet but it is going to be significant and it is going to be horrific."

Seventy-five students were sheltered in one local elementary school, clinging to the walls as the tornado passed over, KFOR reports. Another elementary school received a "direct hit," reports ABC. "Cinderblocks and everything collapsed on them but they were underneath so that kind of saved them a little bit, but I mean they were trapped in there," said one boy, who sheltered in a bathroom. The National Weather Service says the tornado rating was at least EF4, which means winds of 166 to 200 miles per hour. Click for more.

A child is pulled from the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma.   (AP Photo Sue Ogrocki)
A child calls to his father after being pulled from the rubble of the Tower Plaza Elementary School following a tornado in Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. A tornado as much as a mile (1.6 kilometers)...   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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