Oklahoma Tornado Update: 24 Dead, More than 200 Injured
A precise count is difficult to come by, but officials at four hospitals in the Oklahoma City area say they've seen more than 200 patients, including dozens of children, since yesterday's deadly tornado struck.
Dozens of patients remain hospitalized Tuesday evening.
The storm killed at least 24 people, including at least nine children. But the fire chief in Moore, perhaps the hardest hit community, says he's ``98 percent sure'' there are no more victims or survivors under the rubble.
Fire Chief Gary says every damaged home has been searched at least once, and that his goal is to conduct three searches of each location just to be sure.
He's hopeful the work could be completed by nightfall, though heavy rains have slowed efforts and soaked debris piles.
The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Moore was a top-of-the-scale EF-5 twister with winds of at least 200 mph. It cut a path 17 miles long and 1.3 miles wide. (Associated Press)
An emergency official says Oklahoma has reinforced tornado shelters in more than 100 schools across the state, but the two that were hit by this week's storms in suburban Oklahoma City did not have them.
Seven children sheltering in above-ground classrooms at the Plaza Towers Elementary School were killed. All appear to have survived at Briarwood Elementary.
Students and parents have been recounting stories of brave teachers who sheltered students but also describing moments of panic and fear. Students at both schools say they were ordered into the halls as the tornado approached. But in both cases, teachers then redirected at least some of the students to places that appeared safer, including a bathroom and a closet.
The director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management says it's up to each jurisdiction to set priorities for which schools get limited funding for safe rooms. Albert Ashwood says authorities are going to review which schools have safe rooms and try to get them in more schools across the state. (Associated Press)