Coming on the heels of a storm that killed two in Oklahoma yesterday, a mile-wide tornado touched down 10 miles south of Oklahoma City today, directly hitting the suburb of Moore and causing an untold amount of damage. Homes have been leveled, and two schools and a movie theater were reportedly among the badly damaged buildings. One elementary school appears to have been directly hit. A KFOR reporter spoke to one man who pulled kids out of its rubble. Below is live streaming coverage from local news station News 9:
The local news coverage is highly emotional—at least one reporter from KFOR has said this is "the most amount of damage" he's ever seen, and an OKC meterologist just suggested that the twister was "the most destructive tornado in history of the world." Anchors have compared today's storm to an F5 twister from 1999, which killed over three dozen and caused $1 billion in damage.
The aerial coverage is chilling, as are pictures coming in from the scene. This time lapse footage taken by WMC TV, though, is like something out of a movie.
Our thoughts go out to anyone who has been affected. This is absolutely awful.
Worst tornado damage I have seen since Joplin. Picture of what's left of a daycare in Moore, Oklahoma. Brings tears. twitter.com/StormCoker/sta…— Georgia Storm Chaser (@StormCoker) May 20, 2013
Huge pile of debris in Moore, OK from tornado twitter.com/michaelhayes/s…— Mike Hayes (@michaelhayes) May 20, 2013
UPDATE, 6 p.m.
The National Weather Service confirmed winds today of at least 200 miles per hour.
The Moore, OK hospital reportedly had its second floor essentially "ripped off:"
Plaza Tower Elementary is, so far, the scene of the most drama. According to KFOR, 75 teachers and children were inside the school when the tornado hit—a reporter just said that there is an unspecified amount of K-3 students still in the school. Possibly over 30 people have been pulled out alive. From the Atlantic Wire, an image of the debris at Plaza Tower.
And this is just about the most horrible thing ever.
UPDATE, 11 p.m.
The news has gotten incredibly grim. According to the state medical examiner's office, 51 people are now confirmed dead. At least 20 were children. Both numbers are expected to rise—the work digging through the rubble is now called a "recovery," not a "rescue." According to KFOR, up to 30 kids may have been trapped inside the Plaza Towers Elementary. Obama has pledged any government support necessary.
This image from Reddit today pretty much sums up the immense size of the storm.
And this video, also taken from Reddit, shows the storm passing a half-mile by South Moore High School.
There are hopeful images coming out of all the crap, though. One that has circulated the Internet is this Briarwood Elementary teacher reuniting with a student.
And if you're interested in helping, here's a list of opportunities, taken from KFOR's website:
- The Salvation Army will have a truck at KFOR-TV taking donations starting 10 a.m. Tuesday. 444 E. Britton Rd., Oklahoma City, OK 73114. Or donate by texting “storm” to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
- The Red Cross said the best way to assist families is to make a donation to www.redcross.org/okc or www.redcross.org or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
- United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund is open. Donations may be made online at www.unitedwayokc.org or by mail to United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK 73101 with notation for May Tornado Relief.