It’s been less than 24 hours since a massive tornado, almost two miles wide, tore through the Oklahoma suburb of Moore and destroyed everything in its path.
Panoramic views of Moore show complete and utter devastation, as rubble litters the ground in huge heaps. Glass, metal and wood clutter areas where buildings once stood and piles of muddy cars, mangled by the high winds, sit in the middle of roads, far from where they once were parked.
The tornado is being called the “biggest destruction from a storm in the history of the world” and it’s living up to its name, as the death toll rises and the reality of just how crippling the storm was sets in.
Stay updated with GlobalGrind as we give you latest on the recovery developments coming out of Moore.
First of Dead ID’s Is A 9-Year-Old Girl
The first victim who was killed in the massive Oklahoma tornado has been identified as 9-year-old Ja’Nae Hornsby. She was one of the seven children found in Plaza Towers Elementary School on Monday. Her father confirmed her death on Tuesday.
May she rest in peace.
Teacher Lay Over Students To Protect Them As Tornado Went By
When the massive tornado directly hit Plaza Towers Elementary, Rhonda Crosswhite, a sixth grade teacher, knew she had to act fast. When the sirens sounded, the students and teachers moved into a hallway to take cover. But it wasn’t enough, and as the tornado made contact with the school, Crosswhite used her own body as a shield to protect the students that were nearby.
Damien Britton was one of those students.
“We heard the sirens go off and then we all ran into the hallway,’’ Damian said. “Some of us had a math book and some of us had our backpacks. (The sirens) went off again, and we ducked again. They went off again, and then we heard the tornado and it sounded like a train coming by, and then we were all in cover.”
That’s when Crosswhite laid down on Damian and several other students in a bathroom stall as the tornado hit.
“She was covering me and my friend Zachary,” he said. “I told her we were fine because we were holding on to something, and then she went over to my friend Antonio and covered him, so she saved our lives.”
Watch their emotional reunion in the video above and read more on Crosswhite’s bravery and heroism here.
President Obama Makes A Statement About The Destruction
President Barack Obama spoke from the White House just hours after he issued a state of emergency in Oklahoma.
“Yesterday…one of the most destructive tornadoes in memory sliced through Newcastle & Moore, Oklahoma,” he said. “Our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma today.”
He also told the country that he will provide Oklahoma with all it needs to rebuild.
“Oklahoma needs to get everything that it needs right away. As a nation, our full focus is on the urgent work of rescue and the hard work of recovery and rebuilding that lies ahead.”
24 Dead, 7 Children, & Death Toll Rising
Hospitals are reporting at least 145 injured in yesterday’s tornado and at least 24 dead. Among those fatalities are seven children; Plaza Towers Elementary School was crushed in the storm. (It must be noted that initial reports confirmed 91 dead).
At least 70 of those injured are also children, but it is expected that they will recover. An untold amount of residents in Moore are still trapped underneath the debris, as rescue workers race time to save their lives.
The Specifics Of The Massive Tornado
The tornado was very similar to the huge storm of May 1999, in which winds reached record speeds of 302 mph, but authorities are saying that yesterday’s tornado surpassed that one. It touched down at about 2:56 p.m., 16 minutes after the first warning went out. It was on the ground for 40 minutes, according to the National Weather Service in Norman, Okla., and traveled about 20 miles.
Preliminary data suggests that it was a Category 4 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale. A definitive assessment will be released later today.
At one point, the massive storm reached two miles in width.
More Heartbreaking Photos Of The Destruction From Yesterday’s Tornado
Check out these unbelievable photos that have come in the aftermath of the massive storm.