Oklahoma tornado spread destruction like a ‘two-mile-wide lawnmower blade’


Moore, Oklahoma (CNN) — Amid downed power lines, hissing gas pipes and immense devastation, rescuers searched “board by board” Tuesday for survivors and victims of a massive tornado that pulverized a vast swath of the Oklahoma City suburbs.

It was a daunting task. The Monday afternoon storm carved a trail through the area as much as two miles wide and 17 miles long, officials said. Hardest hit was Moore, Oklahoma — a suburban town of about 56,000 and the site of eerily similar twisters in 1999 and again four years later.

At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said the storm was one of the “most horrific storms and disasters that this state has ever faced.”

All that remained in some places, she said, were “sticks and bricks.”

The state medical examiner’s office said 24 people were confirmed dead, including nine children.

Earlier reports of at least 51 deaths were erroneous, said Amy Elliot, chief administrative officer for the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

But Fallin said the death toll could still rise. She said some bodies may have been taken to funeral homes without the government’s knowledge.

More than 230 people were injured.

At least 100 people have been pulled alive from the rubble by rescuers….

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