More than 90 people are dead, 20 of them children, after a huge tornado has hit areas near Oklahoma City, marking the second time a twister hit the state in recent days.
Local news affiliate KFOR reports the twister appeared have touched down in Newcastle, just south of Oklahoma City, before heading through the suburb of Moore. KFOR estimates that the damage affected around 30 square miles.
The city medical examiner’s office said the death toll stood at 91.
Hospitals are said to be treating more 120 patients, including 70 children, the AP reports.
This image from the National Weather Service shows the preliminary path of the tornado:
National Weather Service
The tornado is believed to have been at least an F4, possibly an F5 (the highest category) and at least a mile wide. The National Weather Service says that the winds may have reached 200 mph during the tornado.
KFOR’s news anchor described it as “ripping up everything in its sight,” and reporters on the ground said it was leaving “Atomic bomb-like devastation.”
The National Weather Service issued a “tornado emergency” for the Oklahoma City area, and has called the tornado “large and extremely dangerous,” USA Today reports.
KFOR reporters say that at least two schools in Moore have been hit by the tornado and severely damaged. One reporter described seeing third graders being pulled out of school after the storm, and there are reports that 75 people were in Plaza Towers Elementary school when the tornado hit.
Images from the live feed appear to show parts of the town virtually flattened:
Video footage from NBC shows large fires, with no fire engines on the scene.
KFOR interviewed one man who survived the storm by hiding in a horse stall. He told reporters that only one horse at the farm survived:
This vine from Oklahoma City resident David Massey shows the damage:
Another Vine from Massey shows people searching through an enormous amount of rubble:
Moore was hit hard by a tornado in 1999 that included the highest winds ever recorded near the earth’s surface. A meteorologist for KFOR is predicting that today’s tornado may have left more damage.
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