A huge tornado ripped through the suburbs of Oklahoma City Monday, killing dozens and pulverizing entire city blocks. The huge twister left behind mile after mile of rubble, mangled vehicles and piles of wood. As the daylight was waning, work and rescue crews frantically worked to sift through the wreckage and to get an idea of the scope of the destruction.
The city of Moore, OK took the brunt of the gigantic tornado as the entire community is in shambles. Moore is home to about 55,000 people and is located just a few minutes south of Oklahoma City. A local elementary school took a direct hit from the tornado that ripped the roof off the building. Several children lost their lives at the school and several more were missing. The scene at the school was chilling as only a few walls remained standing as rescue workers wearing yellow helmets were frantically searching for survivors.
The National Weather Service classified the Oklahoma tornado as at least an F4 which is one in which the winds are between 166 and 200 miles per hour. The service also said that the tornado was over mile wide and that it kicked up a cloud of debris that was two miles wide.
Entire neighborhoods in Moore were completely destroyed, vehicles were tossed about like toys and some were found on top of homes and businesses. The sheer number of downed powerlines and massive traffic jams around Moore have made it difficult for emergency workers to respond. People were being urged to stay away from the damaged areas unless they were a part of search and rescue teams.
Droves of Moore residents were roaming the streets of their neighborhoods Monday evening, most looking as though they were in shock as they pulled pets, articles of clothing and wheelbarrows full of belongings out of the never-ending piles of rubble.
The tornado struck during the mid-afternoon Monday and ripped a path 20 miles long. The massive tornado was on the ground for a full forty minutes. Much of the storm’s rampage was caught on live TV which most likely resulted in many people seeking shelter. The governor of Oklahoma had declared a state of emergency in sixteen counties following damages caused by last weekend’s cluster of storms and was forced to add five to that list Monday.