Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

May 21, 2013

Dozens killed as tornado ravages Oklahoma City area

SHAWNEE, Okla. — A powerful late-afternoon tornado leveled much of this Oklahoma community Monday, killing at least 51 people. Reporters on helicopters flying above the scene described the scene as “devastating.”

So complete was the wreckage, they said it was hard to pinpoint exactly what neighborhoods had been hit because so little was left standing.

The storm may have stayed on the ground for as long as an hour. The tornado was reportedly on the ground for more than 11 miles with winds up to 200 mph.

A school was damaged, and in nearby Norman, Okla., children had been given permission to check out earlier in what was expected to be another afternoon of severe storms.

More than 120 people were being treated at hospitals, including about 70 children.

Over the weekend, Oklahoma was hit by numerous tornadoes.

Earlier, Gov. Mary Fallin declared the state a disaster area. Monday’s tornadoes, which TV weathermen said may have been an F4 or perhaps even an F5 tornado, were still circulating in other parts of the state.

Fallin called out Oklahoma National Guard troops. President Barack Obama pledged his assistance to the state.

A farm, which reportedly housed 70 or more horses, was especially hard hit. Some of the animals died and veterinarians said they expected others would be euthanized.

Moore, Okla., police and rescue units have employed a huge rescue effort, said Moore Public Information Officer Jeremy Lewis.

“It’s unbelievable,” Lewis said. “Our entire central part of town is leveled. Pretty much the heart of our business district is gone.”

Lewis said he has never seen anything like this, “and I have lived in Moore my entire life.”

Damage was reported within at least three elementary schools. At Plaza Towers Elementary School, the storm tore off the roof, knocked down walls and turned the playground into a mass of twisted plastic and metal.

Children from the school were among the dead, but several students were pulled alive from the rubble. Rescue workers passed the survivors down a human chain to the triage center in the parking lot.

The storm and its path were reminiscent of the May 3, 1999, tornado. Entire neighborhoods were flattened with construction debris and vehicles blocking the street.

Norman Regional Hospital officials were asking all clinical staff to report to the Healthplex to help treat storm injuries. Thirteen patients were transported. One was sent to the Norman Regional Healthplex and 12 to Norman Regional.

The Moore Medical Center on I-35 sustained major damage and patients were being transferred to Norman Regional’s two Norman campuses. An elementary school in Moore was hit and police were putting search dogs in the building. As of 4:40 p.m., there were no confirmed fatalities at Briarwood Elementary School.

Interstate 35 was virtually shut down before 5 p.m. as traffic in both directions slowed to a crawl. Moore Mayor Glen Lewis was en route to Briarwood Elementary shortly before 5 p.m.

Scattered power outages were reported in southwest Norman. Cable television was also knocked out for some time.

— The Norman Transcript staff and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Today in History

    In 1800, Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress.

    April 24, 2014

  • Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

    A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America.

    April 23, 2014

  • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

    Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Obama_Stew.jpg Obama views mudslide scene

    Swooping over a terrain of great sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month, then mourned privately with those who lost loved ones in the destruction.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wall Street_Stew.jpg Earnings and corporate deals lift U.S. stocks

    Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economy College Gradu_Stew.jpg Job market for college grads better but still weak

    With college commencement ceremonies nearing, the government is offering a modest dose of good news for graduating seniors: The job market is brightening for new grads — a bit.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court TV On t_Stew.jpg Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1791, the 15th president of the United States, James Buchanan, was born in Franklin County, Pa.

    April 23, 2014

  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 15-year-old boy found his way onto an airport’s tarmac and climbed into a jetliner’s wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation’s airline fleet.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Death count in ferry sinking tops 100

    One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results