Story Summary

Oklahoma tornado

A tornado that was reported to be an EF4 (winds 166 to 200 mph) and nearly two miles wide struck an Oklahoma City suburb in the early afternoon on May 20.

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National & World News

Twister kills 51

CNN reported that the medical examiner confirmed 51 people have been killed in the 2-mile tornado that swept through an Oklahoma suburb early Monday afternoon.

okc tornado3 05-20-13

The tornado, an EF4, was traveling between 166 and 200 mphs and was on the ground for 40 minutes. It leveled homes and a school; it was reported that 75 children were trapped in two elementary schools and rescuers said they recovered seven bodies of students. The rescue mission at the Plaza Elementary School is ongoing.



SHAWNEE, OK. (CNN) – At least 17 people — 7 of them children who were trapped in the Plaza Towers Elementary School, KFOR reported — were killed Monday when a powerful tornado blasted an area outside of Oklahoma City, ripping roofs off buildings, leveling homes, and cutting a wide path of destruction the scale of which is just starting to be made clear.

The victims’ bodies were being sent to Oklahoma’s office of the chief medical examiner, the office’s Amy Elliott told CNN, confirming the tornado’s first fatalities. Authorities had no immediate estimate on the number of injured.

okc tornado2 05-20-13

After the ear-shattering howl of the killer storm subsided, survivors emerged from shelters to see an apocalyptic vision — the remnants of cars twisted and piled on each other to make what had been a parking lot look like a junk yard. Bright orange flames roaring from a structure that was blazing even as rain continued to fall.

At least one school was in the tornado’s devastation zone in Moore, Oklahoma. Lance West, a reporter for CNN affiliate KFOR, said that rescuers were searching for students trapped in debris at Plaza Towers Elementary School. There were no immediate reports on the condition of the children but rescuers swarmed to the scene to begin a painstaking search.

There were 75 students and staff at the school when the storm hit, KFOR reported

For the complete CNN story, go here.

National & World News

VIDEO: Oklahoma tornado levels homes, school



SHAWNEE, OK. (CNN)[Breaking news update at 4:58 p.m. EST Monday]

Areas of metropolitan Oklahoma City appeared to be in shreds Monday afternoon after a massive tornado moved through the region. “The houses are destroyed. … Completely leveled,” a helicopter pilot for CNN affiliate KFOR said. A school was apparently among the structures leveled by the twister.

[Original story, posted at 4:48 p.m. EST Monday]

A tornado was on the ground near Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon, moving toward populated areas.

The National Weather Service issued a rare tornado emergency for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, meaning that significant and widespread damage and fatalities are likely.

Video from CNN affiliates showed a funnel cloud stretching from the sky to the ground, kicking up debris.

More than 171,000 people could be in the path of the storm.

okc tornado1 05-20-13The severe weather comes after tornadoes and powerful storms ripped through Oklahoma and the Midwest earlier Monday and on Sunday.

Forecasters had warned that the destructive weather, which killed at least two people, wasn’t over.

“Today could be potentially as dangerous as yesterday,” CNN meteorologist Indra Petersons said Monday morning, pointing to a wide swath of the country spanning from Texas to Michigan. “We’re talking about 500,000 square miles under the gun for severe weather.”


For the complete CNN story, go here.