21 have been confirmed dead in the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma earlier today. According to officials that number will rise. The two-mile wide tornado has been classified as at least an E-4 category – the scale is from zero to five.
Spokeswoman Amy Elliott says the death toll is again expected to rise. Elliott says children are among those killed by the storm.
The city of Moore, Okla., was hit by a mile-wide tornado on Monday afternoon. The National Weather Service says it had winds up to 200 mph.
Officials say a small hospital in Moore was damaged by Monday afternoon’s tornado.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain says the Moore Medical Center sustained damage.
Cain also said the hospital was evacuated and all 13 patients were transferred to other facilities.
Cain said she didn’t know the conditions of the patients or the extent of the damage at the hospital, which is southwest of Oklahoma City.
At least 20 of the dead were children, including at least seven from Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, which lay directly in the path of the monster storm’s wall of wind.
Seventy-five students and staff members had been huddled at the school when the tornado hit, CNN affiliate KFOR reported.
As nightfall descended, determined searchers in hard hats dug in the debris for those possibly trapped, but authorities described the work as a recovery, not rescue, effort. Search lights illuminated their efforts.
Live news updates are available at KFOR.
Information on assisting victims:
Viral Read – Red Cross plus local media information H/T Becca Lower (@BeccaJLower)
Early video footage from KFOR: