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article imageDeath toll in Moore Oklahoma less than expected

By Duane Buell     May 22, 2013 in Environment
Moore Oklahoma took a direct hit from an EF-5 tornado. Live video coverage courtesy of WPIX 11 News from the air in a news chopper!
Pray for the people of Oklahoma. I'm lucky, I have a warm bed to sleep in tonight!
Oklahoma death toll revised downwards as search for more victims continues. If there is any good news coming out of Oklahoma after a devastating tornado of the worst kind, an EF-5 ripped whole neighborhoods apart, it's the death toll from this tragedy being revised down when a higher death count was expected. Two schools were hit by the tornado which was reported as an EF-5, the most powerful and highest current rating for severe tornadoes. Now questions are surfacing about the safety of the schools. Neither had a safe room and in one of the schools, seven children were killed, but would a safe room have made a difference? With a tornado this powerful, experts are saying their are no guarantees. In Moore, Oklahoma, rescue efforts continue as the search began at the two schools which were right in the path of the EF-5. The schools that were hit suffered sever damage and in some cases, buildings were totally demolished.
Plaza Towers elementary school took a direct hit and at least seven of the 24 victims were at Plaza tower were killed. As of yet, it is still unclear at this time if any more students at the school were still unaccounted for. As far as the cost of the damage, it is still to early to tell what the toll will be and whether any additional safety measures could have been enacted that would have made a difference in lives saved. Experts who help schools become tornado prepared say there is no simple solution, you don't know where it's going to hit. Also to put a safe room can be cost prohibitive for some communities and even new schools built from scratch are faced with a long series of red tape when it comes to safe rooms. With a tornado as strong as this one, an EF-5 is the strongest rating there is on the Fujita scale, there is no perfect solution and no guarantees the safe room would have saved lives.
Children used to be protected in the hallways of schools, once considered the strongest section in a building, but hallways can turn into high speed wind tunnels and children are escorted into bathrooms or classrooms off the hallways.
At this time the search for more victims is nearly complete and residents of Moore, Oklahoma began to return to asses the damage. some homes were nothing but piles of debris and twisted metals while other lots of land that used to have homes and buildings on them were stripped down to bare lots altogether. Joe D'Aleo, co chief forecaster for Weather Bell Analytics says "An EF-5 is about as bad as it gets. It means that winds were more than 200 Miles Per Hour and you have to be underground, because there will be nothing left above ground. It's equivalent to a Cat 5 hurricane." The death toll yesterday, May 20th, was originally estimated at 51, so being revised down to 24 is a good sign with the rescue effort more than 98 % sure they've located the victims. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, who took a flyover tour os the area said it is hard to look at. "But we will rebuild and we will regain our strength" she said.
The tornado estimated to be two miles wide and cut a path through Oklahoma taking a direct hit on Moore, OK and didn't appear to stop for nearly twenty miles. If you want to offer help to the victims of the Moore area please Click this link to the Disabled American Veterans Donation page. Every dollar goes to help victims in need, not Administration! D Buell is also a reporter for The Buell Review.
More about Tornado, Demolished, moore ok, Oklahoma, Moore
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