Moore, Oklahoma tornado: Dozens killed as huge twister levels parts of suburbs, hits schools

UPDATE: Death toll rises in Oklahoma tornado

MOORE, Okla. (AP) - A 2-mile-wide tornado leveled parts of the Oklahoma City area Monday afternoon, killing at least 51 people and injuring dozens others, according to the state's medical examiner's office. Officials say more than 20 children are among the dead, and the number of fatalities is expected to rise.

Homes and buildings in Moore, Okla., were reduced to rubble, and vehicles littered roadways south and southwest of Oklahoma City. Hospitals are treating more than 140 people who were injured, including about 70 children.

According to Oklahoma City station KFOR, Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore was hit by the tornado. Seventy-five students were inside the school when the storm struck. While several kids were pulled from the rubble early Monday evening, between 20 and 30 are still missing.

Rescuers say they don't expect to find any more survivors.

PHOTOS | Massive storm damage near Oklahoma City

Briarwood Elementary School in Oklahoma City was also hit, but all the students have been accounted for, according to KJRH, our Scripps reporting partner.

Neighborhoods in Moore were flattened and blown apart, with shards of wood and pieces of insulation strewn everywhere. Television footage also showed first responders picking through rubble and twisted metal in the suburb south of Oklahoma City.

The National Weather Service says the tornado 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.

The suburb of Moore, where Monday's damage was concentrated, was hit hard by a tornado in 1999 that included the highest winds ever recorded near the earth's surface.

The city of Joplin, Mo., sent assistance to Moore on Monday evening.

Stay with for updates.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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