Search for survivors winds down as Oklahoma begins daunting recovery – CNN

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Search for survivors winds down as Oklahoma begins daunting recovery – CNNby wpjljron.Search for survivors winds down as Oklahoma begins daunting recovery – CNN.cnn_html_media_utility::before{color:red;content:’>>’;font-size:9px;line-height:12px;padding-right:1px} .cnnstrylccimg640{margin:0 27px 14px 0} .captionText{filter:alpha(opacity=100);opacity:1} .cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a,.cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a:visited,.cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a:link,.captionText a,.captionText a:visited,.captiontext a:link{color:#004276;outline:medium none} .cnnVerticalGalleryPhoto{margin:0 auto;padding-right:68px;width:270px} ]]> An aerial view of the destruction caused by the massive tornado that struck areas south of Oklahoma City on Monday, May 20, shows the magnitude of damage left in its path. The storm’s winds topped 200 mph as […]

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An aerial view of the destruction caused by the massive tornado that struck areas south of Oklahoma City on Monday, May 20, shows the magnitude of damage left in its path. The storm's winds topped 200 mph as it <a href='//www.cnn.com/2013/05/21/us/severe-weather/index.html?hpt=hp_t2'>carved a 17-mile path of destruction</a> through Oklahoma City suburbs. On Tuesday, May 21, CNN sent photographer David McNeese to capture the story from above:An aerial view of the destruction caused by the massive tornado that struck areas south of Oklahoma City on Monday, May 20, shows the magnitude of damage left in its path. The storm’s winds topped 200 mph as it carved a 17-mile path of destruction through Oklahoma City suburbs. On Tuesday, May 21, CNN sent photographer David McNeese to capture the story from above:
The storm, which touched down near Newcastle, Oklahoma, spanned 1.3 miles. Some areas along the path were completely flattened.The storm, which touched down near Newcastle, Oklahoma, spanned 1.3 miles. Some areas along the path were completely flattened.
Officials from the National Weather Service gave the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20 a preliminary EF5 rating -- the highest score on the scale that measures tornado intensities.Officials from the National Weather Service gave the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20 a preliminary EF5 rating — the highest score on the scale that measures tornado intensities.
The tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburbs, hitting the town of Moore the hardest. It packed winds that topped 200 mph.The tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburbs, hitting the town of Moore the hardest. It packed winds that topped 200 mph.
A search-and-rescue effort to find survivors shifted Tuesday to one of recovery, officials said.A search-and-rescue effort to find survivors shifted Tuesday to one of recovery, officials said.
The devastation in Moore was so complete that the mayor said city officials were racing to print new street signs to help guide rescuers and residents through a suddenly twisted and unfamiliar landscape.The devastation in Moore was so complete that the mayor said city officials were racing to print new street signs to help guide rescuers and residents through a suddenly twisted and unfamiliar landscape.
A group of homes was reduced to rubble.A group of homes was reduced to rubble.
Debris from homes and structures was strewn for miles around. Debris from homes and structures was strewn for miles around.
In some areas, the homes of an entire street were destroyed.In some areas, the homes of an entire street were destroyed.
Rescuers and first responders immediately began searching through the rubble of structures on May 20.Rescuers and first responders immediately began searching through the rubble of structures on May 20.
Large trees were uprooted and flattened.Large trees were uprooted and flattened.
Given its breadth and power, the tornado ranks among some of the strongest storms ever to strike the United States, CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said.Given its breadth and power, the tornado ranks among some of the strongest storms ever to strike the United States, CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
Homes in some areas were relatively undamaged while others very nearby were destroyed.Homes in some areas were relatively undamaged while others very nearby were destroyed.
Police, firefighters, volunteers and nearly 180 National Guard troops joined forces Tuesday in searching the rubble and securing areas hit by the storm.Police, firefighters, volunteers and nearly 180 National Guard troops joined forces Tuesday in searching the rubble and securing areas hit by the storm.
In 1999 and then again in 2003, Moore took direct hits from tornadoes that took eerily similar paths to 2013's twister. The 1999 storm packed the strongest wind speeds in history, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said.In 1999 and then again in 2003, Moore took direct hits from tornadoes that took eerily similar paths to 2013’s twister. The 1999 storm packed the strongest wind speeds in history, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said.
A section of a bridge outside of Oklahoma City was blown off its foundation.A section of a bridge outside of Oklahoma City was blown off its foundation.
The path of the tornado is clearly visible with dirt and debris painting a wide path across the Oklahoma landscape.The path of the tornado is clearly visible with dirt and debris painting a wide path across the Oklahoma landscape.
The scene -- block after block of flattened homes and businesses, the gutted remains of a hospital and hits on two elementary schools -- left even seasoned veterans of Oklahoma's infamous tornadoes reeling.The scene — block after block of flattened homes and businesses, the gutted remains of a hospital and hits on two elementary schools — left even seasoned veterans of Oklahoma’s infamous tornadoes reeling.

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Are you experiencing severe weather in your area? Send photos and videos to CNN iReport. But please remember to stay safe.

For local coverage of Monday’s devastating storms in Oklahoma, go to these CNN affiliates: KFOR, KOCO and KOKH.

Moore, Oklahoma (CNN) — What began as a hunt for survivors is now an arduous recovery effort.

No new survivors or bodies have been found since Monday, the day a mammoth tornado ripped a 17-mile path of destruction in central Oklahoma and pummeled 2,400 homes.

The mayor of Moore, which bore the brunt of the tornado’s wrath, said he doesn’t expect the death toll to climb any higher. At least 24 people, including nine children, were killed, the state medical examiner’s office said.

“I think that will stand,” Mayor Glenn Lewis said.

A young girl stands among the rubble outside of Briarwood Elementary School on Tuesday, May 21, after an extremely powerful tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday, May 20. The storm was part of a tornado outbreak that began in the Midwest and Plains on Sunday, May 19. View more photos of the aftermath in the region and another gallery of aerial shots of the damage.A young girl stands among the rubble outside of Briarwood Elementary School on Tuesday, May 21, after an extremely powerful tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday, May 20. The storm was part of a tornado outbreak that began in the Midwest and Plains on Sunday, May 19. View more photos of the aftermath in the region and another gallery of aerial shots of the damage.
A doll covered in dirt is among the rubble scattered throughout a neighborhood in Moore on May 21.A doll covered in dirt is among the rubble scattered throughout a neighborhood in Moore on May 21.
Bonnie Lolofie, left, and Ashley Do carry belongings from their apartment that has no power on May 21.Bonnie Lolofie, left, and Ashley Do carry belongings from their apartment that has no power on May 21.
Residents salvage belongings from their demolished homes in Moore on May 21.Residents salvage belongings from their demolished homes in Moore on May 21.
Kelli Kannady weeps after finding a box of photographs of her late husband in the rubble near where her home once stood in Moore on May 21.Kelli Kannady weeps after finding a box of photographs of her late husband in the rubble near where her home once stood in Moore on May 21.
Tufts of pink insulation hang from the rafters of a store in Moore on May 21 that was destroyed in the storm.Tufts of pink insulation hang from the rafters of a store in Moore on May 21 that was destroyed in the storm.
Natalie Johnson searches through her mother's destroyed car outside the Briarwood Elementary School in Moore on May 21.Natalie Johnson searches through her mother’s destroyed car outside the Briarwood Elementary School in Moore on May 21.
Rescuers dig out a house in Moore, Oklahoma, on May 21, after a massive tornado ripped through the area on Monday, May 20. Rescuers dig out a house in Moore, Oklahoma, on May 21, after a massive tornado ripped through the area on Monday, May 20.
June Simson embraces her cat Sammi after she found him standing among the rubble of her destroyed home in Moore on May 21.June Simson embraces her cat Sammi after she found him standing among the rubble of her destroyed home in Moore on May 21.
A man stands on the roof of a destroyed home in Moore on May 21.A man stands on the roof of a destroyed home in Moore on May 21.
A man helps move a resident's belongings from a destroyed home on May 21 in Moore.A man helps move a resident’s belongings from a destroyed home on May 21 in Moore.
Air Force Airman First Class Justin Acord sifts through the rubble of his father-in-law's home in Moore on May 21.Air Force Airman First Class Justin Acord sifts through the rubble of his father-in-law’s home in Moore on May 21.
People recover belongings from the rubble of a home in Moore.People recover belongings from the rubble of a home in Moore.
People sort through a leveled home in Moore on May 21.People sort through a leveled home in Moore on May 21.
Debris lies among headstones in the Moore Cemetery on May 21.Debris lies among headstones in the Moore Cemetery on May 21.
Workers clean up the Warren Movie Theater in Moore on May 21.Workers clean up the Warren Movie Theater in Moore on May 21.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett surveys damage in Moore on May 21.Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett surveys damage in Moore on May 21.
Piles of debris lie around the north side of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore on May 21.Piles of debris lie around the north side of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore on May 21.
As dawn breaks, storm clouds roll in over a devastated neighborhood in Moore on May 21.As dawn breaks, storm clouds roll in over a devastated neighborhood in Moore on May 21.
Members of the Oklahoma National Guard look for survivors in rubble in Moore on May 21.Members of the Oklahoma National Guard look for survivors in rubble in Moore on May 21.
A National Guardsman assists in the search for victims on May 21. A National Guardsman assists in the search for victims on May 21.
A rescue worker leads a horse from the wreckage of a day care center and barns on Monday, May 20, in Moore.A rescue worker leads a horse from the wreckage of a day care center and barns on Monday, May 20, in Moore.
Men tie an American flag on debris in a neighborhood off Telephone Road in Moore on May 20.Men tie an American flag on debris in a neighborhood off Telephone Road in Moore on May 20.
Children wait for their parents to arrive at Briarwood Elementary School in south Oklahoma City on May 20.Children wait for their parents to arrive at Briarwood Elementary School in south Oklahoma City on May 20.
Teachers carry children away from Briarwood Elementary School on May 20.Teachers carry children away from Briarwood Elementary School on May 20.
Teachers lead children away from Briarwood Elementary School on May 20. Teachers lead children away from Briarwood Elementary School on May 20.
A fire official drives through the rubble of Moore Medical Center on May 20.A fire official drives through the rubble of Moore Medical Center on May 20.
Abby Madi, left, and Peterson Zatterlee comfort Zatterlee's dog, Rippy, on Monday, May 20, in Moore.Abby Madi, left, and Peterson Zatterlee comfort Zatterlee’s dog, Rippy, on Monday, May 20, in Moore.
A woman is treated for her injuries on May 20 at a triage area set up for the wounded.A woman is treated for her injuries on May 20 at a triage area set up for the wounded.
Two girls stand in rubble in Moore. Two girls stand in rubble in Moore.
Rescue workers help free one of more than a dozen people who were trapped at a medical center in Moore on May 20.Rescue workers help free one of more than a dozen people who were trapped at a medical center in Moore on May 20.
Oklahoma City firefighters check on Gene Tripp on May 20 as he sits in his rocking chair where his home once stood.Oklahoma City firefighters check on Gene Tripp on May 20 as he sits in his rocking chair where his home once stood.
A nurse helps an older man who suffered a head injury on May 20 in Moore.A nurse helps an older man who suffered a head injury on May 20 in Moore.
Cars marked with an orange X, meaning they have been checked for occupants, are piled up in front of the entrance to the damaged Moore Medical Center on May 20.Cars marked with an orange X, meaning they have been checked for occupants, are piled up in front of the entrance to the damaged Moore Medical Center on May 20.
A teacher hugs a student at Briarwood Elementary School in Oklahoma City on May 20.A teacher hugs a student at Briarwood Elementary School in Oklahoma City on May 20.
People look through the wreckage of their neighborhood after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20.People look through the wreckage of their neighborhood after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20.
Dana Ulepich searches inside a room left standing at the back of her destroyed house in Moore on May 20.Dana Ulepich searches inside a room left standing at the back of her destroyed house in Moore on May 20.
Residents look through the debris in Moore on May 20.Residents look through the debris in Moore on May 20.
A man looks through the remains of a home after the massive tornado struck Moore on May 20.A man looks through the remains of a home after the massive tornado struck Moore on May 20.
A woman is transported on a stretcher after she was rescued from the damaged medical center in Moore on May 20.A woman is transported on a stretcher after she was rescued from the damaged medical center in Moore on May 20.
A woman walks through debris in Moore on May 20.A woman walks through debris in Moore on May 20.
A man is taken away from the IMAX Theater in Moore that was used as a triage center on May 20.A man is taken away from the IMAX Theater in Moore that was used as a triage center on May 20.
A girl wraps herself in a blanket near the Moore Hospital on May 20.A girl wraps herself in a blanket near the Moore Hospital on May 20.
A nurse walks by the destruction at a Moore hospital on May 20.A nurse walks by the destruction at a Moore hospital on May 20.
Destroyed cars scatter the landscape in Moore, Oklahoma, where hundreds of homes and buildings were put to ruin on May 20.Destroyed cars scatter the landscape in Moore, Oklahoma, where hundreds of homes and buildings were put to ruin on May 20.
A woman with an arm injury is helped on May 20 in Moore.A woman with an arm injury is helped on May 20 in Moore.
Extensive damage from an EF4 tornado destroyed cars and demolished structures in Moore on May 20.Extensive damage from an EF4 tornado destroyed cars and demolished structures in Moore on May 20.
Onlookers stop to view a portion of the destruction left behind on May 20 in Moore.Onlookers stop to view a portion of the destruction left behind on May 20 in Moore.
Overturned cars are among the rubble from the tornado that hit Moore on May 20.Overturned cars are among the rubble from the tornado that hit Moore on May 20.
A woman is comforted after the May 20 tornado in Moore.A woman is comforted after the May 20 tornado in Moore.
A shredded tree stands amid debris in the aftermath of the storm in Moore on May 20.A shredded tree stands amid debris in the aftermath of the storm in Moore on May 20.
A shopping center parking lot is covered with debris and damaged cars on May 20.A shopping center parking lot is covered with debris and damaged cars on May 20.
Law enforcement officers block a roadway in Moore where there was extensive damage from the tornado.Law enforcement officers block a roadway in Moore where there was extensive damage from the tornado.
A massive tornado approaches Moore on May 20. The storm first touched down to the west of the city near Newcastle, Oklahoma. Visit CNN.com/impact for ways to help the victims.A massive tornado approaches Moore on May 20. The storm first touched down to the west of the city near Newcastle, Oklahoma. Visit CNN.com/impact for ways to help the victims.

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Photos: Deadly tornado hits Oklahoma City areaPhotos: Deadly tornado hits Oklahoma City area

Rescue dogs help find storm survivors

Storm Chaser pulls 15 people from rubble

Doctors protected patients during twister

Earlier reports of at least 51 deaths were erroneous, said Amy Elliot of the state medical examiner’s office. In the chaotic aftermath of the tornado, Elliot said it appeared some of the dead were counted twice.

But some loved ones are still missing.

Cassandra Jenkins has no idea what happened to her grandparents, more than a day after the twister struck their hometown of Moore.

“All we know is that their home is still left standing, however they have not been seen or heard from since the storm hit,” Jenkins said as her daughters clutched photos of their great-grandparents.

“We’ve tried to locate them at every hospital, every shelter, every Red Cross, anything we could possibly reach out to, we have.”

While the mayor of Moore said he doesn’t think the death toll will rise, each passing hour brings more sobering news about the catastrophe.

About 2,400 homes have been damaged in Oklahoma City and neighboring Moore, said Jerry Lojka, spokesman for Oklahoma Emergency Management. Roughly 10,000 residents were directly impacted by the twister.

Destruction on a colossal scale

Damage assessments Tuesday showed the tornado packed winds over 200 mph at times, making it an EF5 — the strongest category of tornadoes measured, the National Weather Service said.

The devastation was so catastrophic, Lewis said, that city officials were racing to print new street signs to help guide rescuers and residents through a suddenly mangled and unfamiliar landscape.

Severe weather moves east

The rescue workers in Moore included police and firefighters from Joplin, Missouri — a city that knows grief and devastation all too well.

Woman reveals grandparents missing

Wednesday marks the two-year anniversary of the tornado that pulverized Joplin, killing at least 158 people. It was the deadliest single U.S. tornado since federal record-keeping began in 1950.

Teacher impaled while protecting class

Reality sets after deadly tornado

Photographer on tornado: It’s shocking

“We remember the amount of assistance that we received following the tornado two years ago, and we want to help others as they helped us,” Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr said.

“We know too well what their community is facing, and we feel an obligation to serve them as they have served us.”

‘Still can’t believe this’

Some residents of Moore ventured back to where their homes once stood, only to find unrecognizable scraps of their lives.

“You just wanna break down and cry,” Steve Wilkerson said, his voice trembling.

He held a laundry basket that contained the few intact belongings he could find.

“I still can’t believe this is happening. You work 20 years, and then it’s gone in 15 minutes.”

Amid the trauma and grief blanketing Moore, tales of heroism and gratitude sprouted up across the city.

Several teachers at Briarwood Elementary shielded their students with their bodies or distracted them with impromptu games as they took cover from the tornado that demolished their school.

Suzanne Haley was impaled by the leg of a desk wile protecting her students.

“We crowded the children under desks, and me and a fellow teacher put ourselves in front of the desks that the children were under,” she told CNN’s Piers Morgan.

The roof and walls collapsed around them as the tornado’s fury enveloped the school. The leg of the desk pierced through her right calf, jutting out on both sides.

“By the grace of God, I kept it together,” she said. “I couldn’t go into hysterics in front of my children, in front of the other students. I had to be calm for them.”

Miraculously, everyone at Briarwood survived.

While many describe the teachers as heroes, Haley dismisses the title.

“It’s nothing anybody wouldn’t do,” she said. “These children — we see their smiles, their tears, every day, in and out, and we love them.”

CNN’s Holly Yan and Chelsea J. Carter wrote and reported from Atlanta; Brian Todd reported from Moore. CNN’s Mayra Cuevas, Sara Weisfeldt, Gary Tuchman, Ed Lavandera, Pamela Brown and George Howell contributed to this report.


Source Article from http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/22/us/oklahoma-tornado/?hpt=hp_t1

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