A large twister carved a path of destruction across Moore, Okla., a close-in suburb of Oklahoma City, Monday afternoon. Aerial footage of the aftermath shows a line of destroyed homes, with some of them on fire. Two schools were reportedly hit by the tornado.
Residents of Moore were seen by TV helicopters combing through piles of debris after the tornado. There were no immediate reports of deaths, but the scale of the wreckage suggests serious injuries are likely.
Wide shot of the destruction in Moore, Oklahoma from KFOR twitter.com/zerwekh/status…— Rob Zerwekh (@zerwekh) May 20, 2013
A reporter for KFOR-TV sobbed on television as he described watching third-grade students being evacuated from Plaza Towers Elementary School after hiding in a school hallway. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., told CNN immediately after the tornado that the school did not have a basement for students to seek shelter in.
The large suburb-sweeping tornado touched down near Newcastle, Okla., and traveled northeast through Moore.
The tornado "was on the ground approx. 40 minutes," according to the National Weather Service in Norman, Okla. "Tornado warning was in effect for 16 minutes before tornado developed."
Evaluation of the tornado's damage was frequently interrupted by reports of new tornadoes across Oklahoma. The twister immediately elicited comparisons to the May 3, 1999 tornado that swept through Moore and adjacent towns, killing 36 people.
A tornado killed two elderly men and destroyed a trailer park near Shawnee, Okla., which is to the east of Oklahoma City, on Sunday.
Earlier Monday, the National Weather Service estimated a 10 percent chance of tornadoes touching down in parts of eastern Oklahoma, northwestern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri. A larger swath of the U.S. - from northeast of Chicago to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas - had a 5 percent chance of hosting a nearby twister Monday, according to the weather service's projection.