OKLAHOMA TORNADO KILLS 51, DEATH TOLL TO RISE
A huge tornado at least a half-mile wide and with winds up to 200 miles per hour hit the town of Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday (May 20th), killing at least 51 people as it leveled whole neighborhoods and flattened an elementary school in the Oklahoma City suburb. The death toll is expected to rise, with the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office saying the number of dead could rise to as much as 91. The National Weather Service issued an initial finding that the tornado was an EF-4, the second most-powerful type. Scenes from the aftermath of the afternoon tornado saw rescuers pulling children from the destroyed Plaza Towers Elementary School and looking for others in the debris, however children from the school were among the dead. Search efforts in Moore continued overnight. President Obama declared a major disaster and ordered federal aid to help pay for recovery efforts.
- The tornado loosely followed the path of a major tornado that hit the region in May 1999, and was the fourth twister to hit Moore since 1998.