Tornadoes hit Oklahoma again on Monday, leaving large paths of destruction in their wake. The largest tornado of the day so far struck in Moore, Oklahoma, flattening homes, businesses, and schools.
Video footage of the massive tornado showed the dark, funnel-shaped cloud slowly passing over the suburb. Once it passed, footage showed vehicles littering roadways and homes and buildings reduced to rubble.
Emergency personnel rushed to an elementary school in south Monroe, where reports say 75 children and staff members are trapped in the building’s remains.
There are no official reports of injuries. However, hospital officials stated they were on emergency alert and have already started taking in multiple casualties.
Moore is the site of a historic F5 tornado, which hit on May 3, 1999. That twister caused ore than $1 billion in damage. It also produced the highest winds ever seen on Earth, 302 miles per hour.
At least two schools were in the path of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. Bill Bunting, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, stated:
“Our worst fears are becoming realized this afternoon. We certainly hope everyone heeded the warnings, but it’s a populated area and we just fear that not everyone may have gotten the word.”
The NWS’ Jim Cantrell added that the preliminary rating on the Moore tornado is an E4, though broadcasters have suggested it could be upgraded to an E5 — the highest rating. The tornado was estimated at a mile wide when it struck the Oklahoma City suburb, though it was at least two miles wide at one point.
Estimates say more than 171,000 people could have been in the storm’s path. The Moore Medical Center also sustained heavy damage in the Oklahoma tornado. Patients were evacuated to other area hospitals. Residents injured in the tornado were being directed to Norman Regional Hospital and Health Plex Hospital.
The Moore twister was just one of several reported tornadoes in Oklahoma on Monday during the second day of a sever outbreak of storms across the Central plains and Midwest of the United States.
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