Tornado wipes out homes, schools, businesses in Moore
[link to youtu.be] MOORE, Okla. — At least two dozen children were reportedly killed at an elementary school after a monstrous tornado as much as 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.
The storm laid waste to scores of buildings in Moore, south of the city. Block after block of the community lay in ruins, with heaps of debris piled up where homes used to be. Cars and trucks were left crumpled on the roadside. KFOR-TV reports that up to 24 children were killed at the Tower Plaza Elementary School. The Associated Press reports that several children were pulled out alive from Tower Plaza. Rescue workers lifted children from the rubble before they were passed down a human chain and taken to a triage center set up in the school's parking lot.
All of the children at the elementary school that took the direct blow, Briarwood Elementary School, have been accounted for, according to KWTV.
KFOR-TV meteorologist Mike Morgan called this "the worst tornado damage in the history of the world."
KWTV reports that there are multiple fatalities in Moore, including a 3-month-old baby and a 4-year-old and three people at a local 7-Eleven. KFOR reports that up to 100 horses were killed on one farm in Moore.
Jim Couch, city manager for Oklahoma City, told CBS News that the area is facing "significant damage."
"We are in search and rescue mode at this time," Couch said.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has deployed 80 Oklahoma National Guard members to assist with search and rescue operations in the hardest hit areas of Moore.
Fallin said Monday the troops will also help establish a perimeter around some of the most devastated areas in the Oklahoma City suburb.
Fallin also spoke Monday with President Barack Obama who offered the nation's help and gave Fallin a direct line to his office.
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.
Volunteers and first responders were searching through debris looking for survivors. Television footage showed first-responders picking through rubble and twisted metal.