President Obama toured damage in Oklahoma on Sunday, telling victims of last week’s tornado “we’ve got your back.”
As Obama toured the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, he met with victims and first responders. His visit included a trip to Eagle Drive, the site of Plaza Towers Elementary School where seven children died.
Obama ‘s visit in Oklahoma also included a walk through suburban neighborhoods leveled by the tornado.
“Obviously a picture is worth a thousand words; we see what the people of Moore have been dealing with,” Obama said in brief remarks, the mangled wreckage of the school building serving as his backdrop.
The tornado that struck on Monday measured at the top of the five-step scale. It covered a 17-mile path directly through Moore, which already saw the strongest tornado ever measured.
In May 1999, a tornado struck Moore with wind that topped 300 miles per hour, leaving a wake of destruction along a nearly identical path as Monday’s storm.
Some meteorologists believe that last week’s storm may have been even more powerful than the one in 1999. Though it did not measure as the top all time in terms of wind speed, duration, or size, it had a combination of all these factors not seen before.
Monday’s tornado in Moore left 24 people dead and 377 people hurt.
Obama said he believes Oklahoma will recover.
“This area has known more than its share of heartbreak, but the people pride themselves on the ‘Oklahoma standard,’ Obama said. “Oklahomans have inspired us with their love and their courage and their fellowship.”
Obama noted that a storm that struck Oklahoma the day before left a bible in the rubble, with a page open to the book of Isaiah.
“‘And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest,’ ” Obama quoted the passage, adding, “God has a plan, but we are an instrument of his will.”
In Oklahoma, Obama met with Governor Mary Fallin, vowing that the nation would help in its response to the tornado.