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Old 20-05-13, 11:58   #1
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Update VIDEOs-24 Dead, 200 Injured>Tornadoes Slam Kansas/Oklahoma/Iowa

Published May 20, 2013

At least one person has been killed and 21 injured in Oklahoma as a severe storm system generated several tornadoes Sunday in Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa, leveling neighborhoods and sending frightened residents scurrying for shelter.

The tornadoes, high winds and hail across the Midwest were part of a massive, northeastward-moving storm system that stretched from Texas to Minnesota.

Victims and emergency responders might not get much of reprieve as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center was forecasting similar weather for Monday over much of the same area.

At least four separate twisters touched down in central Oklahoma late Sunday afternoon, including one near the town of Shawnee, 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, that laid waste to much of a mobile home park. Oklahoma state Rep. Justin Wood confirmed to Fox News Sunday that at least one person had been killed in the town.

Authorities tell the Associated Press the 79-year-old man's body was found in an open area of the neighborhood.

A storm spotter told the National Weather Service that the tornado "scoured" the landscape in the park and an area along Interstate 40. The highway has been closed because of overturned tractor-trailers that now litter the road.

Across the state, 21 people were injured, not including those who suffered bumps and bruises and chose not to visit a hospital, said Keli Cain, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Gov. Mary Fallin declared an emergency for 16 Oklahoma counties that suffered from severe storms and flooding during the weekend.

A tornado grazed the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond Sunday afternoon, dropping hail as large as grapefruit and damaging roofs and structures before heading east. Aerial flyovers in Wellston, northeast of Oklahoma City, showed significant property damage.

"I knew it was coming," said Edmond resident Randy Grau, who huddled with his wife and two young boys in their Edmond's home's safe room when the tornado hit. He said he peered out his window as the weather worsened and believed he saw a flock of birds heading down the street.

"Then I realized it was swirling debris," Grau said. "That's when we shut the door of the safe room. "I probably had them in there for 10 minutes."

Dozen of counties in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri were placed under tornado watches and warnings that were in effect through late Sunday.

In Kansas, an "violent and extremely dangerous tornado" was spotted in the southwest side of Wichita near the Mid-Continent Airport, according to the National Weather Service.
Carl Brewer, the mayor of Wichita, told Fox News that the city was hit harder by high winds and golf ball sized hail than anything from the tornado.

"That alone, and the rain, actually just really did a number on the city," he said. "It was so bad you think a tornado came through."

Brewer said hail ripped through the sides of houses in Wichita, in addition to breaking windows and damaging cars.

But Randy Duncan, Wichita's emergency management director, told Fox News that he has not yet heard of any local reports of injuries of deaths stemming from the storm.
In Iowa, a tornado touched down 30 miles west of Des Moines, the National Weather Service said, according to the Des Moines Register.

More severe storms are also in the forecast in Oklahoma a day after large hail fell in the state's southwest and electricity was knocked out to thousands.

“The overall environment appears quite favorable for tornadoes,” the SPC outlook stated, according to the Kansas City Star.

The center says the greatest risk for storms in Oklahoma is in the far north, around the Bartlesville area. Overall, the cities included in the area of moderate risk are Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

In Enid on Saturday, a police officer was injured in high winds when his cruiser was struck by an object. Area emergency manager Mike Honigsberg told The Oklahoman that the car may have been hit by a cattle trough lifted by the wind. In Oklahoma City, an officer was trapped for a time when surrounded by fallen utility lines.
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Old 22-05-13, 01:44   #2
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Update Nightmare EF-5 Tornedo Destroys Oklahoma, US Town

Oklahoma Tornado: Multiple People Killed as Mile-Wide Storm hits Moore

Path of the
EF-5 tornado through Moore, Oklahoma.

The Guardian UK, 21 May 2013

Oklahoma City suburb of Moore flattened by mile-wide tornado, with TV footage showing schools and homes reduced to rubble
Oklahoma governor says 237 people injured in tornado – as it happened

Overturned cars are seen after a massive tornado touched down near Oklahoma City. Photograph: Reuters

• Officials revise down death toll to 24,

with the death toll expected to rise
• Search and rescue effort winds down
• 9 children among dead in Moore, Oklahoma
• Flattened schools lacked 'safe rooms'
• Obama declares major disaster amid widespread damage

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. Photograph: Sue Ogrocki/AP

The Oklahoma medical examiner's office said it has not yet received the latest 40 bodies to have been retrieved from the rubble in Moore, but had been told by emergency services to expect them, an official has said.

The ferocious storm – less than 1% of all tornados reach such wind speeds – ripped through the suburb of Moore on Monday in a mid-west region of the US known as tornado alley.
The storm laid waste to scores of buildings in the community of 41,000 people about 10 miles south of Oklahoma City. Block after block lay in ruins. Homes were crushed into piles of broken wood. Cars and trucks were left crumpled on the roadside. Rescuers launched a desperate rescue effort at the Plaza Towers school, pulling children from heaps of debris and carrying them to a triage centre.

Path of the tornado through Moore, Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service estimated that the tornado was an EF-5 on the enhanced five-point Fujita scale, the second most powerful type of twister.
More than 120 people were being treated at hospitals, including about 50 children as the search-and-rescue efforts continued throughout the night.

A woman carries a child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers elementary school. Photograph: Sue Ogrocki/AP

In the videos a dark funnel cloud could be seen marching slowly across the green landscape. As it churned through the community, the twister scattered shards of wood, awnings and glass all over the streets.

A grab provided by KWTV. Photograph: KWTV/AP

The Oklahoma governor, Mary Fallin, deployed National Guard members to assist with rescue operations and activated extra highway patrol officers.
Fallin also spoke to President Barack Obama, who declared a major disaster and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts.
"Hearts are broken" for parents looking for their children, Fallin told a news conference.

At the 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 centre in the car park.
James Rushing, who lives across the street from the school, heard reports of the approaching twister and ran to the school, where his five-year-old foster son, Aiden, attends classes. Rushing believed he would be safer there.

"About two minutes after I got there, the school started coming apart," he said.

The students were sent into the bathroom.
A man with a megaphone stood near a Catholic church on Monday evening and called out the names of surviving children. Parents waited nearby, hoping to hear their sons' and daughters' names.
As dusk began to fall, heavy equipment was rolled up to the school, and emergency workers wearing yellow crawled among the ruins, searching for survivors.

Rescuers work to free people trapped in the rubble. Photograph: Sue Ogrocki/AP

Crews used jackhammers and sledgehammers to tear away concrete, and chunks were being thrown to the side as the workers dug.
Many telephone lines to stricken areas were down, and mobile phone networks were congested. The storm was so massive that it will take time to establish communications between rescuers and state officials, the governor said.
Tiffany Thronesberry said she heard from her mother, Barbara Jarrell, shortly after the tornado struck.

"I got a phone call from her screaming, 'Help! Help! I can't breathe. My house is on top of me!'" Thronesberry said.

She hurried to her mother's house, where first responders had already pulled Jarrell out. She was taken to hospital for treatment of cuts and bruises.

The tornado also destroyed the city hospital and numerous businesses. The mayor of Moore, Glenn Lewis, said he watched it pass through from his jewellery shop. "All of my employees were in the vault."
He said the cleanup had already started and city workers were already at work printing new street signs to replace those that blew away.

Chris Calvert saw the tornado from about a mile away.
"I was close enough to hear it," he said. "It was just a low roar, and you could see the debris, like pieces of shingles and insulation and stuff like that, rotating around it."
Even though his neighbourhood is a mile from the tornado's path, it was still covered with debris. He found a picture of a small girl on Santa Claus's lap in his yard.

A map provided by the National Weather Service showed that the storm began west of Newcastle and crossed the Canadian river into Oklahoma City's rural far south-western side about 3pm local time. When it reached Moore, the twister cut a path through the centre of town before lifting back into the sky at Lake Stanley Draper.
Oklahoma City police captain Dexter Nelson said downed power lines and open gas lines posed a risk in the aftermath of the storm.

The tornado loosely followed the same path of a killer twister that hit Moore in May 1999. That storm produced the highest winds ever recorded near the Earth's surface – 302 mph.
Kelsey Angle, a weather service meteorologist in Kansas City, Missouri, said it was unusual for two such powerful tornadoes to track roughly the same path.
It was the fourth tornado to hit Moore since 1998. A twister also struck in 2003.

Oklahoma City has had more tornado strikes than any other city in the U.S, the city government's website says.
Monday's devastation in Oklahoma came almost exactly two years after an enormous twister ripped through the city of Joplin, Missouri, killing 158 people and injuring hundreds more. On Monday, Joplin organised a team of about a dozen police and firefighters to assist in Moore.

Link to Videos: Oklahoma Tornado Devastates Moore

Second EF-5 Tornado for Moore, Oklahoma

Both the 1999 and 2013 tornadoes followed virtually the same path through the Oklahoma town.
ABC, 21/05/2013

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