Oklahoma City tornado

May 20, 2013 4:09 p.m.  •  1 comment

A monstrous tornado at least a half-mile wide roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs, Monday, May 20, 2013, flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds up to 200 mph. At least 24 people were killed, including at least seven children, and those numbers were expected to climb.

Related story: Teachers credited with saving students in Okla.
Related story: Crews dig through night after deadly Okla. twister

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A tornado passes across south Oklahoma City, Monday, May 20, 2013. A monstrous tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs, flattening entire neighborhoods with winds up to 200 mph, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman Associated Press Link

Rescuers have pulled several children from the rubble of a school in an Oklahoma City suburb after a monstrous tornado as much as a mile wide with winds up to 200 mph roared through Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on the elementary school.

Associated Press Link

A woman carries a child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. A tornado as much as a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Sue Ogrocki Associated Press Link

A child is passed along a human chain of people after being pulled from the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., and passed along a human chain of rescuers Monday, May 20, 2013. A tornado as much as half a mile (.8 kilometers) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Sue Ogrocki Associated Press Link

A truck lays damaged in a field near the Moore Medical Center, background, after a tornado moves through Moore, Okla. on Monday, May 20, 2013.

Alonzo Adams Associated Press Link

The storm laid waste to scores of buildings in Moore, south of the city. Block after block of the community lay in ruins. Homes were crushed into piles of broken wood. Cars and trucks were left crumpled on the roadside. The National Weather Service issued an initial finding that the tornado was an EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale, the second most-powerful type of twister.

Associated Press Link

A woman carries an injured child to a triage center near the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. A tornado as much as a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Sue Ogrocki Associated Press Link

Authorities expected the death toll to rise as emergency crews moved deeper into the hardest-hit areas. More than 120 people were being treated at hospitals, including about 70 children.

Associated Press Link

Emergency crews recover a body from the 7-11 store at the corner of Telephone Road and SW 4th Street after a tornado in Moore, Okla. on Monday, May 20, 2013.

Alonzo Adams Associated Press Link

A woman is pulled out from under tornado debris at the Plaza Towers School in Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. A tornado as much as a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Sue Ogrocki Associated Press Link

A fire burns in the Tower Plaza Addition in Moore, Okla., following a tornado Monday, May 20, 2013. A tornado as much as half a mile wide with winds up to 200 mph roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Sue Ogrocki Associated Press Link

Onlookers watch as children are pulled from the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School following a tornado in Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. A tornado as much as a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Sue Ogrocki Associated Press Link

This aerial photo shows the remains of homes hit by a massive tornado in Moore, Okla., Monday May 20, 2013. A tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Steve Gooch Associated Press Link

The storm seemed to blow neighborhoods apart instantly, scattering shards of wood and pieces of insulation across the scarred landscape. The same suburb was hit hard by a tornado in 1999. That storm had the highest winds ever recorded near the earth’s surface.

Associated Press Link

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) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Sue Ogrocki Associated Press Link

Injured horses huddle together after the tornado hit the area near 149th and Drexel on Monday, May 20, 2013 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman Associated Press Link

Many land lines to stricken areas were down and cellphone traffic was congested. The storm was so massive that it will take time to establish communications between rescuers and state officials, the governor said.

Associated Press Link

Rescue workers dig through the rubble of a collapsed wall at the Plaza Tower Elementary School to free trapped students in Moore, Okla., following a tornado Monday, May 20, 2013. A tornado as much as a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Sue Ogrocki Associated Press Link

Emergency workers pull out a woman that was trapped in a building that was destroyed off of 4th Street and Interstate 35 after a tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., Monday May 20, 2013.

Kyle Phillips, The Transcript Associated Press Link

Rescue workers dig through the rubble of a collapsed wall at the Plaza Tower Elementary School to free trapped students in Moore, Okla., following a tornado Monday, May 20, 2013.

Sue Ogrocki Associated Press Link

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin deployed 80 National Guard members to assist with search-and-rescue operations and activated extra highway patrol officers. Fallin also spoke with President Barack Obama, who offered the nation’s help and gave Fallin a direct line to his office.

Associated Press Link

A boy is pulled from beneath a collapsed wall at the Plaza Towers Elementary School following a tornado in Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. A tornado as much as half a mile (1.6 kilometer) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on the elementary school.

Sue Ogrocki Associated Press Link

At Plaza Towers Elementary School, the storm tore off the roof, knocked down walls and turned the playground into a mass of twisted plastic and metal. Children from the school were among the dead, but several students were pulled alive from the rubble. Rescue workers passed the survivors down a human chain to the triage center in the parking lot.

Associated Press Link

Teachers carry children away from Briarwood Elementary school after a tornado destroyed the school in south Oklahoma City, Monday, May 20, 2013. A monstrous tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs, flattening entire neighborhoods with winds up to 200 mph, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman Associated Press Link

Monday’s powerful tornado loosely followed the path of a killer twister that slammed the region in May 1999. The weather service estimated that the storm that Monday’s tornado was at least a half-mile wide. The 1999 storm had winds clocked at 300 mph. Kelsey Angle, a weather service meteorologist in Kansas City, Mo., said it’s unusual for two such powerful tornadoes to track roughly the same path. Monday’s devastation in Oklahoma came almost exactly two years after an enormous twister ripped through the city of Joplin, Mo., killing 158 people and injuring hundreds more.

Associated Press Link

Workers look for victims under debris from a tornado that passed across south Oklahoma City, Monday, May 20, 2013. A monstrous tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs, flattening entire neighborhoods with winds up to 200 mph, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman Associated Press Link

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.A monstrous tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs, flattening entire neighborhoods with winds up to 200 mph, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman Associated Press Link

A teacher hugs a child at Briarwood Elementary school after a tornado destroyed the school in south Oklahoma City, Monday, May 20, 2013. A monstrous tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs, flattening entire neighborhoods with winds up to 200 mph, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman Associated Press Link

Searchers rest outside the Briarwood Elementary School after the tornado destroyed the school , Monday, May 20, 2013.

David McDaniel, The Oklahoman Associated Press Link

Cindy Wilson texts to friends after her home was destroyed in the afternoon tornado. Cindy and her husband, Staff Sgt. B. Wilson, took cover in their home’s bathtub when the tornado hit. Cindy received a deep gash to her forehead and her wound was treated by first responders at the scene. Tornado caused extensive damage in the Madison Place Addition, near SE 8 and Tower in Moore, on Monday, May 20, 2013.

Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman Associated Press Link

Clark Gardner, at left, and another man place an American flag on debris in a neighborhood off of Telephone Road in Moore, Okla., after a tornado moved through the area on Monday, May 20, 2013.

Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman Associated Press Link


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