Quantcast

Medical examiner revises death toll to 24 in Oklahoma twister - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Medical examiner revises death toll to 24 in Oklahoma twister

Posted: Updated:
A woman carries a child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla. (AP Photo Sue Ogrocki) A woman carries a child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla. (AP Photo Sue Ogrocki)
A tornado moves past homes in Moore, Okla. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams) A tornado moves past homes in Moore, Okla. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
A fire burns in the Tower Plaza Addition in Moore, Okla., following a tornado. (AP Photo Sue Ogrocki) A fire burns in the Tower Plaza Addition in Moore, Okla., following a tornado. (AP Photo Sue Ogrocki)
MOORE, Okla. -

The state medical examiner's office has revised the death toll from a tornado in an Oklahoma City suburb to 24 people, including seven children.   

Spokeswoman Amy Elliot said Tuesday morning that she believes some victims were counted twice in the early chaos of the storm. Authorities said initially that as many as 51 people were dead, including 20 children.  

Teams are continuing to search the rubble in Moore, 10 miles south of Oklahoma City, after the Monday afternoon tornado.

President Barack Obama will be meeting with his disaster response team, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, on Tuesday before delivering a statement on Monday's devastating tornado.
    
Obama has declared a major disaster in Oklahoma, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. The president also spoke Monday with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Rep. Tom Cole, whose home is in the heavily damaged town of Moore.
   
The White House says Obama told Cole that the American people stand behind Oklahomans as they recover from the disaster.
    
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate is heading to Oklahoma on Tuesday to ensure that federal resources are being properly deployed.   
The storm stripped leaves off trees and left scores of blocks in Moore barren and dark. Rescuers walked through neighborhoods where Monday's powerful twister flattened home after home, listening for voices calling out from the rubble. A helicopter buzzed above, shining lights on crews below.
    
As Monday turned into Tuesday, the town of Moore, a community of 41,000 people 10 miles south of the city, braced for another long, harrowing day.
    
"As long as we are here ... we are going to hold out hope that we will find survivors," said Trooper Betsy Randolph, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
    
More than 120 people were being treated at hospitals, including about 50 children. Amy Elliott, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office, said Tuesday that there could be as many as 40 more fatalities from Monday's tornado.
    
On Monday evening, families anxiously waited at churches to hear if their loved ones were OK. A man with a megaphone stood near St. Andrews United Methodist Church and called out the names of surviving children. Children and parents hugged as they reunited. Other parents waited, hoping to hear their sons' and daughters' names as the night dragged on.
    
Crews continued their desperate search and rescue effort throughout the night at Plaza Towers Elementary, where the storm had ripped off the school's roof, knocked down walls and turned the playground into a mass of twisted plastic and metal as students and teachers huddled in hallways and bathrooms.
    
Children from the school were among the dead, but several students were pulled out alive from under a collapsed wall and other heaps of mangled debris. Rescue workers passed the survivors down a human chain of parents and neighborhood volunteers. Parents carried children in their arms to a triage center in the parking lot. Some students looked dazed, others terrified.
    
James Rushing, who lives across the street from the school, heard reports of the approaching twister and ran to the school where his 5-year-old foster son, Aiden, attends classes. Rushing believed he would be safer there.
    
"About two minutes after I got there, the school started coming apart," he said.
    
Another school, Briarwood Elementary, was also damaged by the tornado.
    
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin deployed 80 National Guard members to assist with rescue operations and activated extra highway patrol officers. Fallin also spoke Monday with President Barack Obama, who declared a major disaster and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts.
    
In video of the storm, the dark funnel cloud could be seen marching slowly across the green landscape. As it churned through the community, the twister scattered shards of wood, awnings and glass all over the streets.
    
A map provided by the National Weather Service showed that the storm began west of Newcastle and crossed the Canadian River into Oklahoma City's rural far southwestern side about 3 p.m. When it reached Moore, the twister cut a path through the center of town before lifting back into the sky at Lake Stanley Draper.
    
The National Weather Service issued an initial finding that the tornado was an EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale, the second most powerful type of twister.
    
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., forecast more stormy weather on Tuesday, predicting golf ball-sized hail, powerful winds and isolated, strong tornadoes for parts of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The area at risk does not include Moore, Okla.
    
Monday's powerful tornado loosely followed the path of a killer twister that slammed the region with 300 mph winds in May 1999. It was the fourth tornado to hit Moore since 1998.
    
The weather service estimated that Monday's tornado was at least a half-mile wide.
    
Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis, who was also mayor during the 1999 storm, said the city was already at work on the recovery.
    
"We've already started printing the street signs. It took 61 days to clean up after the 1999 tornado. We had a lot of help then. We've got a lot of help now."
    
Monday's devastation in Oklahoma came almost exactly two years after an enormous twister ripped through the city of Joplin, Mo., killing 158 people and injuring hundreds more.
    
That May 22, 2011, tornado was the deadliest in the United States since modern tornado record keeping began in 1950, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Before Joplin, the deadliest modern tornado was June 1953 in Flint, Mich., when 116 people died.
 
    
___
    
Associated Press writers Sean Murphy, Nomaan Merchant and Sue Ogrocki contributed to this report.

 

RELATED STORIES

RELATED LINKS

  • U.S.More>>

  • Friend convicted of impeding Boston Marathon probe

    Friend convicted of impeding Boston Marathon probe

    Monday, July 21 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-07-21 21:40:28 GMT
    Jurors in the trial of a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) have resumed deliberations in his obstruction of justice trial.
    A college friend was convicted Monday of trying to protect Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by agreeing with another friend to get rid of a backpack and disabled fireworks they took from his dorm room...
  • Obama calls for immediate access to crash site

    Obama calls for immediate access to crash site

    Monday, July 21 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-07-21 16:00:27 GMT
    President Barack Obama is calling for international investigators to have "immediate and full access" to the site in eastern Ukraine, where a passenger jet was shot down last week.
    President Barack Obama is calling for international investigators to have "immediate and full access" to the site in eastern Ukraine, where a passenger jet was shot down last week.
  • Body of missing 11-year-old drowning victim found

    Body of missing 11-year-old drowning victim found

    Monday, July 21 2014 9:27 AM EDT2014-07-21 13:27:51 GMT
    MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Saturday night the Coast Guard was called in to help locate an 11 year old boy who went missing in the ocean.  The 11 year old boy reportedly went missing in the ocean near 2001
     The body of an 11-year-old drowning victim who went missing in the ocean Saturday was located Monday morning.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Parts of Durham once again flood as business owner looks for relief

    Parts of Durham once again flood as business owner looks for relief

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:20 PM EDT2014-07-22 02:20:30 GMT
    Several inches of rain created flooding in parts of Durham on Monday.
    Several inches of rain created flooding in parts of Durham on Monday.
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Durham worker says he was let go after receiving back pay

    Durham worker says he was let go after receiving back pay

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:32 PM EDT2014-07-22 02:32:25 GMT
    Michael David said Dayeco Construction owed him a paycheck for more than six weeks of work.Michael David said Dayeco Construction owed him a paycheck for more than six weeks of work.
    A Durham man said he was let go by his employer after finally getting a paycheck that he'd waited six weeks to receive.
    A Durham man said he was let go by his employer after finally getting a paycheck that he'd waited six weeks to receive.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.