MOORE, Okla. (KDKA/AP) – The tornado carved a path of destruction Monday in Moore, Okla., and the National Weather Service has now upgraded it to an EF-5 tornado with winds exceeding 200 miles per hour.
So far, 24 people are confirmed dead, nine of them children; and more than 200 people have been injured. Authorities initially said as many as 51 people were dead, including 20 children.
But among the devastation, there are moments of hope.
The pictures seem unearthly. To imagine this was a town, but it’s now piles of rubble, debris and destroyed memories. But from one pile, a tiny life emerges.
A woman was reunited with her dog today, after the pet became trapped in the rubble during the devastating storm.
“Oh Patsy, Oh Patsy!” the owner called to her dog. “Bless his little, bitty heart.”
Meanwhile, parents at one school, Briarwood Elementary, were overcome with relief to hold their children safe in their arms.
The students emerged, stunned by what had happened and what was left of their school.
“All the desks were on top of us,” said Isabelle Rojas, a student. “And the teacher got stuck, and so somebody had to help her because the desk was on her leg.”
But tragically, just a mile away at Plaza Towers Elementary, some of the children did not survive. Seven are confirmed dead so far.