Children among the at least 51 dead after massive twister strikes near Oklahoma City (5)

The tornadoes, high winds and hail have been part of a massive, northeastward-moving storm system that has stretched from Texas to Minnesota.

A massive tornado at least a half mile-wide with 200 mph winds churned through Oklahoma City’s suburbs Monday afternoon, killing at least 51 people including at least 20 children, flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled inside.

Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office, said early Tuesday 51 people were confirmed dead, at least twenty of them children.She said officials could see as many as 40 more fatalities from the tornado.

The storm laid waste to scores of buildings in Moore, a community of 41,000 people about 10 miles south of Oklahoma City. Block after block lay in ruins. Homes were crushed into piles of broken wood. Cars and trucks were left crumpled on the roadside.

More than 120 people were being treated at hospitals, including about 50 children.

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See Also:

#1 — ‘Our hearts are broken for the parents’

#2 — How to help Okla. tornado victims, shelter info

#3 — Missouri city devastated by 2011 twister aids tornado-ravaged Oklahoma town

#4 — Bracing for Round 3: 53 million under severe weather threat

#5 — Confirmed tornado death toll in Okla. revised down to 24; as many as 91 still feared dead

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