UPDATE: Tornado Touches Down Near Oklahoma City

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

UPDATE: 5/20/13 10:34 PM CDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Obama declares major disaster in Oklahoma after devastating tornado.


UPDATE: 5/20/13 10:30 PM CDT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Officials at two hospitals say they've been treating more than 120 patients, including about 50 children, since a massive tornado hit suburban Oklahoma City.

Spokeswoman Brooke Cayot says nine of 57 patients who are being treated at the Integris Southwest Medical Center were listed in critical condition after Monday afternoon's tornado. Nineteen were in serious condition and 29 were listed in fair or good condition.

She said five of the patients were children who have since been treated and released.

OU Medical Center spokesman Scott Coppenbarger says his hospital and a nearby children's hospital are treating approximately 65 patients, including 45 children. The hospital previously said the number was higher, but later revised its patient count.

He said those patients ranged from minor injuries to critical condition.


UPDATE: 5/20/13 10:07 PM CDT

MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Officials in Joplin, Mo., have brought together a team of public safety employees they are sending to tornado-stricken Moore.

Joplin was devastated by a tornado two years ago that killed 158 people and injured hundreds more. On Monday, Joplin organized a team of about a dozen police and firefighters to assist in Moore.

Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr says his community remembers the assistance it received in 2011 and feels an obligation to lend a hand in Moore.

The team from Joplin is to conduct a needs assessment and help determine areas in which Moore needs further assistance.

Joplin will also work to provide other assistance, Rohr said.


UPDATE: 5/20/13 9:51 PM CDT

MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Tornado warnings have been issued across much of the Midwest, stretching from Oklahoma to Illinois, following a second deadly twister in as many days in the Oklahoma City area.

The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings Monday evening for several counties in southeastern Oklahoma and north and western Arkansas, along with parts of southern and central Missouri and a small slice of western Illinois.

The warnings are in effect into early morning Tuesday, with multiple tornadoes possible.

The warnings were issued after a massive tornado tore through parts of suburban Oklahoma City, flattening entire neighborhoods with winds up to 200 mph and landing a direct blow on an elementary school in Moore.

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office says dozens were killed, with the death toll expected to rise.


UPDATE: 5/20/13 9:24 PM CDT

MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Officials say a tornado hit a small hospital in suburban Oklahoma City, but all the 30 patients inside survived.

Moore Medical Center spokeswoman Kelly Wells says the hospital was "pretty much destroyed" after Monday's tornado.

She said all of the 30 patients survived, as did all of the staff members at the 46-bed acute care hospital, which is southwest of Oklahoma City.

Wells says 13 patients were transferred to other facilities, though it wasn't clear if they were moved because of injuries sustained in the tornado or because of existing medical conditions.

Wells said all of the patients "amazingly" survived, but the rest of the building didn't.


UPDATE: 5/20/13 8:10 PM CDT

MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says "hearts are broken" for parents wondering about the fate of their children after a tornado devastated suburban Oklahoma City and officials say the search and rescue effort will continue throughout the night.

Fallin told a Monday news conference that a center for those seeking loved ones has been set up at a church in Moore, where an afternoon tornado flattened entire neighborhoods and destroyed an elementary school with a direct hit. She says responders are working as quickly as they can to sort through the rubble.

Authorities who joined Fallin say search and rescue efforts are ongoing and will continue overnight.

The governor says the state will spare no resource in the tornado recovery and will consider using Oklahoma's rainy day fund in the effort.


UPDATE: 5/20/13 8:05 PM CDT

MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- State medical examiner's office: death toll of 51 in Okla. tornado is again expected to rise.


UPDATE: 5/20/13 7:42 PM CDT

MOORE, Okla. (AP)-- State medical examiner's office: 37 killed in Oklahoma tornado; death toll expected to rise.


UPDATE: 5/20/13 6:25 PM CDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Monday's powerful tornado in suburban Oklahoma City loosely followed the path of a killer twister that slammed the region in May 1999.

The National Weather Service estimated that the storm that struck Moore, Okla., on Monday had wind speeds of up to 200 mph, and was at least a half-mile wide. The 1999 storm had winds clocked at 300 mph, according to the weather service website.

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.

The weather service has tentatively classified the Moore twister's wind speeds as an EF-4 on a 5-point scale. Angle said less than 1 percent of all tornadoes reach a EF-4 or EF-5.


UPDATE: 5/20/13 6:01 PM CDT

MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Several children have been pulled out of the rubble alive at a school in an Oklahoma City suburb.

An Associated Press photographer saw several children being pulled out of what was left of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on Monday after a massive tornado hit the region.

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.

The school is southwest of Oklahoma City. Its roof appears mangled and the walls had fallen in or had collapsed.

The National Weather Service said the tornado's preliminary classification was an EF-4, with winds up to 200 mph.


UPDATE: 5/20/13 4:43 PM CDT

MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- A mix of volunteers and first responders are combing through debris in an Oklahoma City suburb looking for survivors.

The city of Moore, Okla., was hit by a mile-wide tornado on Monday afternoon.

People wearing neon-green vests were joined by residents in the search through rubble. Neighborhoods are flattened and homes blown apart.

Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department says an elementary school took a direct hit from the mile-wide tornado, but did not say which school was hit.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Shards of wood and pieces of insulation were strewn everywhere. Television footage also showed first responders picking through rubble and twisted metal.


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A large tornado is bearing down near Oklahoma City, part of a series of severe storms expected across portions of the Midwest.

Television footage shows a funnel cloud touching down southwest of the city on Monday, and radar indicates it is moving toward the state's capital city.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives canceled its afternoon sessions so Capitol employees and state lawmakers could take shelter. Sirens blared and workers made their way to the Capitol basement.

Oklahoma City's southeastern suburbs were hit by a storm Sunday and two people died. Monday's storm is in an area that is more densely populated.

Monday's storm is also near where a violent twister hit May 3, 1999. That storm carried the highest winds ever recorded on earth.


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