Monster tornado hits Oklahoma City
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A monster tornado has struck Oklahoma City, with a confirmed death toll so far of 51 - including 20 children who got trapped under the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, a small town about 10 miles south of the state capital. More than 75 pupils were in the building when it crumbled down during the storm, but rescuers only managed to pull 30 of them out alive as the search for more survivors continues.
The 2-mile wide violent twister reached a record speed of 200 mph, causing destruction in the whole area for over 40 minutes. To make it worse, locals were caught completely unprepared as the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center issued a tornado warning only 16 minutes before it struck.
Rescue services have been working relentlessly since yesterday - with Sgt. Gary Knight of the Oklahoma City Police Department declaring: "Numerous neighborhoods were completely leveled, just wiped clean." In Moore, people in need of medical help have been transported to facilities in nearby areas as the local hospital, Moore Medical Center, was severely compromised by the storm, with a witness telling the press: "Our hospital has been devastated, we had a two-story hospital, now we have a one. And it's not occupiable."
President Obama is about to meet with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the rest of the disaster response team to talk about the emergency. He will soon deliver an official statement on the catastrophic tornado, although he has already declared the area a 'disaster zone'. And apparently, it's not even over yet: while the trail of destruction in the Oklahoma City area has left over 40,000 people without power, Arkansas and Texas are now getting ready for golf ball-sized hail, ferocious winds and merciless twisters.