Two Infants Among Ten Children Killed in Tornadoes

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
A KOLO 8 viewer sent us this photo, forwarded from a family member who lived in Moore, Oklahoma, showing the tornado that hit Moore on May 20, 2013.

A KOLO 8 viewer sent us this photo, forwarded from a family member who lived in Moore, Oklahoma, showing the tornado that hit Moore on May 20, 2013.

For live coverage of the storm from the ABC station in Oklahoma City, click HERE.

For a live look at the OKC radar from the National Weather Service, click HERE.

UPDATE: 8:51AM Wednesday

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma medical examiner's office says two infants are among 24 people killed by the tornado that ripped across the Oklahoma City area this week.

The office announced Wednesday that it has positively identified 23 of the 24 victims and that 10 of those killed are children.

Among the dead are 4-month-old Case Futrell and 7-month-old Sydnee Vargyas. Both babies died from head injuries.

The eight other children ranged in age from 4 years old to 9 years old. Of those, six were suffocated. The other two died from massive injuries.

All the children have been positively identified. Medical examiner's office spokeswoman Amy Elliott says officials still are trying to contact relatives of eight victims.

UPDATE: 9PM Tuesday

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - Officials in Moore, Okla., have been focused on the search for survivors and victims of yesterday's tornado and have not fully tallied the scope of the damage.

The official death toll stands at 24, and hundreds were injured. But Moore's fire chief says he's 98 percent certain there are no more bodies or survivors in the rubble.

Scientists now say the tornado that flattened the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore yesterday was a rare and extraordinarily powerful EF5, capable of lifting reinforced buildings off the ground, hurling cars like missiles and stripping trees free of bark. Wind speeds are estimated to have reached 200 to 210 mph, as the twister cut a path 17 miles long and 1.3 miles wide.

The tornado was on the ground 40 minutes, flattening entire neighborhoods and leaving some lots scoured down to bare red earth. There's no count yet of how many homes are gone and how many families displaced.

UPDATE: 1:14PM Tuesday

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - 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.

12:35PM Tuesday UPDATE:

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - The fire chief in the Oklahoma City suburb raked by a massive tornado says the search for survivors and the dead is almost complete.

Fire Chief Gary Bird said Tuesday that he's "98 percent sure" there are no more survivors or bodies to recover under the rubble in Moore.

Bird says every damaged home has been searched at least once, and that his goal is to conduct three searches of each location just to be sure.

He's hopeful the work could be completed by nightfall, though heavy rains have slowed efforts and soaked debris piles.

Bird says no additional survivors or bodies have been found since Monday night.

Monday's tornado flattened homes and demolished an elementary school. At least 24 people were killed, including at least nine children.

9:05AM Tuesday UPDATE:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Hospital officials say they've treated more than 200 patients, including dozens of children, since a tornado ripped through suburban Oklahoma City.

About 20 patients remained at one hospital Tuesday, but it wasn't clear how many patients remained hospitalized at another facility.

Spokeswoman Brooke Cayot (KAY'-ot) says Integris Southwest Medical Center has seen 90 patients, including five children who have been released. About 20 people remain hospitalized there.

OU Medical Center spokesman Scott Coppenbarger says 85 people, including 50 children, came to his hospital and an affiliated children's hospital for treatment. He does not know how many have been released.

St. Anthony Hospital spokeswoman Sandra Payne says her hospital and two regional facilities have seen 35 patients, including 14 children. Thirty-two patients have been released. Three children were transferred elsewhere

7:20AM Tuesday UPDATE:

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - 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.

9:19PM UPDATE:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Medical examiner: At least 20 children among the 51 killed by Oklahoma tornado.

9:04PM UPDATE:

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in Oklahoma as the state recovers from a massive tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, killing dozens and flattening entire neighborhoods.

Obama has ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. Individuals and business owners affected by the disaster may apply for federal grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs.

The president promised federal assistance in a phone conversation earlier Monday with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent a special team to Oklahoma's emergency operations center to help out and dispatch resources.

8:35PM UPDATE:

(AP) - President Obama declares major disaster in Oklahoma after devastating tornado.

7:10PM UPDATE:

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - 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.

6:29PM UPDATE:

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office says a growing death toll from a massive tornado that struck outside Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon now stands at 51. Spokeswoman Amy Elliott says the death toll is again expected to rise. Elliott says children are among those killed by the storm.

5:31PM UPDATE:

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office says 37 people have been killed by a tornado that hit suburban Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon. Spokeswoman Amy Elliott says the death toll is expected to rise. Elliott didn't know how many of those killed were children.

5:11PM UPDATE:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Officials at two hospitals say they're treating nearly 60 patients, including more than a dozen children, after a massive tornado hit suburban Oklahoma City.

Integris Southwest Medical Center spokeswoman Brooke Cayot (KAY'-ot) said 10 of 37 patients being treated at that facility Monday are listed in critical condition. Twelve are in serious and 15 others are listed in fair or good condition.

Five of the patients are children, including two who came from the Plaza Towers Elementary School, where an Associated Press photographer saw several children being pulled from the rubble. Cayot could not confirm the children's conditions.

Spokesman Scott Coppenbarger says another 20 patients of various ages are being treated at OU Medical Center. He says eight of them are children.

UPDATE:

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - Several children have been pulled out of the rubble alive at a school in an Oklahoma City suburb.

An Associated Press photographer saw several children being pulled out of what was left of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on Monday after a massive tornado hit the region.

Rescue workers lifted children from the rubble before they were passed down a human chain and taken to a triage center set up in the school's parking lot.

The school is southwest of Oklahoma City. Its roof appears mangled and the walls had fallen in or had collapsed.

The National Weather Service said the tornado's preliminary classification was an EF-4, with winds up to 200 mph.

UPDATE:

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Moore, Okla., had wind speeds up to 200 mph.

The weather service's preliminary classification of Monday afternoon's tornado was an EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale.

Authorities say emergency crews are working to rescue people trapped in Moore, which is southwest of Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson said emergency crews are trying to reach the affected areas. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The suburb of Moore was hit hard by a tornado in 1999. The storm had the highest winds ever recorded near the earth's surface.

UPDATE:

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - A mix of volunteers and first responders are combing through debris in an Oklahoma City suburb looking for survivors.

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.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Shards of wood and pieces of insulation were strewn everywhere. Television footage also showed first responders picking through rubble and twisted metal.

UPDATE:

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - Authorities say an elementary school in an Oklahoma City suburb took a direct hit from a mile-wide tornado.

Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department says there is no word of injuries from the elementary school. Knight says the school suffered "extensive damage" on Monday afternoon.

Neighborhoods in Moore, Okla., are flattened and buildings are on fire. Television footage on Monday afternoon showed homes and buildings that had been reduced to rubble in the city south of Oklahoma City. Footage also showed vehicles littering roadways south and southwest of Oklahoma City.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The suburb of Moore was hit hard by a tornado in 1999. The storm had the highest winds ever recorded near the earth's surface.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A large tornado is bearing down near Oklahoma City, part of a series of severe storms expected across portions of the Midwest.

Television footage shows a funnel cloud touching down southwest of the city on Monday, and radar indicates it is moving toward the state's capital city.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives canceled its afternoon sessions so Capitol employees and state lawmakers could take shelter. Sirens blared and workers made their way to the Capitol basement.

Oklahoma City's southeastern suburbs were hit by a storm Sunday and two people died. Monday's storm is in an area that is more densely populated.

Monday's storm is also near where a violent twister hit May 3, 1999. That storm carried the highest winds ever recorded on earth.

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