NWS: Oklahoma twister top-scale EF-5

MOORE, Okla. - 4:45 p.m. update:

The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Moore, Okla., was a top-of-the-scale EF-5 twister with winds of at least 200 mph.

Spokeswoman Keli Pirtle said Tuesday the agency upgraded the tornado from an EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale to an EF-5 based on what a damage assessment team saw on the ground. The weather service uses the word "incredible" to describe the power of EF-5 storms.

The weather service says the tornado's path was 17 miles long and 1.3 miles wide.

Pirtle says Monday's twister is the first EF-5 tornado of 2013.
 

9:45 a.m. update:

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.

4:50 a.m.

Rescue crews are working through the night after a monstrous tornado barreled through the Oklahoma City suburbs, demolishing an elementary school and reducing homes to piles of splintered wood.

Officials say the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office confirms at least 51 people were killed in Monday's twister, including at least 20 children. Those numbers were expected to climb.

The center of the devastation is in Moore, a community of 41,000 people 10 miles south of Oklahoma City.

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.
 

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10:22 pm

 

Officials say a tornado hit a small hospital in suburban Oklahoma City, but all the 30 patients inside survived.
 
   MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Rescue crews are working through the night after a monstrous tornado barreled through the Oklahoma City suburbs, demolishing an elementary school and reducing homes to piles of splintered wood.

   Officials say at least 51 people were killed in Monday's twister, including at least 20 children. Those numbers were expected to climb.

   The center of the devastation is in Moore, a community of 41,000 people 10 miles south of Oklahoma City.

   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.

 
 
Moore Medical Center spokeswoman Kelly Wells says the hospital was "pretty much destroyed" after Monday's tornado.
 
   She said all of the 30 patients survived, as did all of the staff members at the 46-bed acute care hospital, which is southwest of Oklahoma City.
 
   Wells says 13 patients were transferred to other facilities, though it wasn't clear if they were moved because of injuries sustained in the tornado or because of existing medical conditions.
 
   Wells said all of the patients "amazingly" survived, but the rest of the building didn't.
 
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9:12pm
 
Officials at two hospitals say they've been treating more than 140 patients, including about 70 children, since a massive tornado hit suburban Oklahoma City.
 
   Spokeswoman Brooke Cayot says nine of 57 patients who are being treated at the Integris Southwest Medical Center were listed in critical condition after Monday afternoon's tornado. Nineteen were in serious condition and 29 were listed in fair or good condition.
 
   She said five of the patients were children who have since been treated and released.
 
   OU Medical Center spokesman Scott Coppenbarger says his hospital and a nearby children's hospital are treating approximately 85 patients, including 65 children.
 
   He said those patients ranged from minor injuries to critical condition.
 
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9:06 pm
 
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says "hearts are broken" for parents wondering about the fate of their children after a tornado devastated suburban Oklahoma City and officials say the search and rescue effort will continue throughout the night.
 
   Fallin told a Monday news conference that a center for those seeking loved ones has been set up at a church in Moore, where an afternoon tornado flattened entire neighborhoods and destroyed an elementary school with a direct hit. She says responders are working as quickly as they can to sort through the rubble.
 
   Authorities
who joined Fallin say search and rescue efforts are ongoing and will continue overnight.
 
   The governor says the state will spare no resource in the tornado recovery and will consider using Oklahoma's rainy day fund in the effort.
 
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The city of Moore, Okla., was hit by a mile-wide tornado on Monday afternoon.

People wearing neon-green vests were joined by residents in the search through rubble. Neighborhoods are flattened and homes blown apart.

Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department says an elementary school took a direct hit from the mile-wide tornado, but did not say which school was hit.
 
Shards of wood and pieces of insulation were strewn everywhere. Television footage also showed first responders picking through rubble and twisted metal.
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