Massive tornado makes direct hit on elementary school; many children feared dead
The estimated EF-4 tornade had winds that were speculated to be 200MPH+ and cat a path of destruction about 2 miles wide. It made a direct line for the Plaza Towers Elementary School where 75 students and an unknown number of faculty were in attendance.
Thirty students were reported to have been rescued as the parents of the remaining students waited outside to hear about their own children.
Moore is a suburb of Oklahoma City, OK, the city that fell victim to the F-5 tornado in 1999.
Reports are surfacing that while the 4th through 6th graders are accounted for, many children and staff from the kindergarden through third grade are still missing.
Confirmed reports list 51 dead and more than 60 injured. City officials have warned that the death and injury tolls will likely increase.
An estimated 38,000 customers are without power in the Oklahoma City area.
A Moore resident said “I was driving home and I saw the funnel, cars were stopping.”
*this story is developing and will be updated as more information comes in*
Updates (all times ET):
9:05pm: Water treatment is offline due to loss of power at the Draper water treatment facility. Generators are being brought in and water service should be returned to non-damaged areas by about midnight tonight.
9:10pm: Officials report that, unlike some news reports said, they are still in rescue mode attempting to find survivors. Some news reports had reported that operations had turned to recovery.
9:49pm: Up to 24 children missing, unknown if they are alive or dead. Rescuers and search dogs are hard at work to find them.
9:51pm: Officials say that children may have drowned due to water flooding into the storm-ravaged school
10:38pm: 65 Patients in OU trauma hospital. 45 are children
11:06pm: Some speculating that this could be worse than May 1999 tornado
9:45am: Death toll revised from 51 to 21. Revision due to incorrect counts.