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Tornado hits Oklahoma City suburb (updated)

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A powerful tornado with winds of up to 320 kilometers per hour devastated parts of an Oklahoma City suburb Monday, hitting at least two schools and wiping out block after block of homes. The latest reports say the storm was even worse than first thought. 

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One of the many tornados that have hit Oklahoma and surrounding states in the past several days.

New video

Here's a new video giving close-up views during the Moore tornado and minutes after it passed.

Evening update

The Oklahoma tornado is clearly worse than most people feared, with more than 20 dead, including seven children who died when their elementary school collapsed. The extent of the damage is almost unimaginable as the tornado cut a two-kilometre-wide and 30-kilometre-long path through a populated area near Oklahoma's capital city.

President Obama spoke a few minutes ago and promised that the victims would get all the national government support it needed while help began pouring into the the affected area. Joplin, Missouri, a small city that was hit equally hard two years ago, was one of the first communities to send a team to help.

collapse – (of people and business) to fail suddenly; to suddenly be unable to continue or work correctly ล้ม (ธุรกิจ
unimaginable – impossible to think of or to believe exists; impossible to imagine สุดที่จะคนึงคิด,เข้าใจยาก,คาดคิดไม่ถึง,เป็นไปไม่ได้


Click button to listen to Tornado and rightclick to download

Tornado hits Oklahoma City suburb

By Robert MacPherson | AFP

A powerful tornado with winds of up to 320 kilometers per hour pulverised an Oklahoma City suburb Monday, hitting at least two schools and wiping out block after block of homes.

A home sits damaged on May 20, 2013, after a tornado moved through the area near Shawnee, Oklahoma. AFP


Reporters for local television station KFOR saw pupils as young as nine being "pulled out" of one school in Moore, a residential community of 55,000 just south of Oklahoma's state capital.

An unknown number of children were feared trapped inside the Plaza Towers school, where anxious parents were being kept at a distance while search and rescue workers scrambled to free the pupils.

A view of the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma as it stops and dissipates, but as the story says, it may have reformed shortly afterward

A second elementary school, Briarwood, was also hit.

From its news helicopter, KFOR's cameras captured scenes of widespread destruction, with street after street of single-storey homes in Moore stripped of their roofs and cars piled atop each other like toys.

Utility lines were down and gas lines exposed, triggering localised fires. The Moore Medical Center was evacuated after it sustained damage, a spokeswoman for the hospital told CNN. The National Guard was called out to help rescue efforts.

Storm spotters estimated the wedge-shaped tornado, which struck in mid-afternoon, to be as big as three kilometers wide. It briefly dissipated, only to recycle to the east, threatening the town of Meeker.

"We anticipate that these storms are going to continue to build around Oklahoma," a grim Governor Mary Fallin told CNN, while the National Weather Service urged residents to take cover.

On Twitter, the National Weather Service gave the tornado a preliminary rating of EF-4, indicating that it packed winds of 166 to 200 miles per hour – more severe than a category five hurricane.

In downtown Oklahoma City, tornado sirens went off at least three times Monday afternoon, and the Interstate 35 highway – a busy north-south artery through the American heartland – was closed to all but emergency vehicles.

Here is 8-minutes of the KFOR aerial coverage mentioned in the story. Notice that you can expand the video to full screen.

In Moore, live images from KFOR showed people wandering among the debris and even a couple of untethered horses from a local stables that somehow managed to survive the punishing storm.

"I had no idea it was coming," said a stable worker, who told how he survived the "unbearably loud" twister by taking cover in one of the stalls.

Tornadoes frequently touch down on Oklahoma's wide open plains, but the fact that Monday's twister struck a populated urban area raised fears of a high casualty toll.

Because of the hard ground, few homes are built with basements in which residents can take cover.

Oklahoma City lies well inside the so-called "Tornado Alley" stretching from South Dakota to central Texas that is particularly vulnerable to tornadoes.

On Sunday, a powerful storm system churning through the US Midwest spawned tornadoes in Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma, destroying homes and killing at least two people, US media reported.

tornado – a violent storm with very strong winds which move in a circle. There is often also a long cloud which is narrower at the bottom than the top พายุทอร์นาโด, พายุหมุน
pulverise – to crush something into a fine powder; to defeat or destroy somebody/something completely ทำให้เป็นผง,บด, ทำลายสิ้นเชิง
suburb – an area or town near a large city but away from its centre ชานเมือง
block – the length of one side of a piece of land or group of buildings, from the place where one street crosses it to the next เขตหนึ่งของตัวเมือง
residential community – a place where people live เขตที่อยู่อาศัย
capital – the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from  เมืองหลวง
trapped – to be unable to leave a place ถูกกับดัก
anxious – worried because you think something bad might happen ที่วิตกกังวล, ที่ร้อนใจ
search – to look somewhere carefully in order to find something ค้นหา
rescue – to save a person or animal from a dangerous or unpleasant situation ช่วยชีวิต
scramble – to do something in a hurry รีบเร่ง
dissipate – to cause something to gradually stop or disappear  ค่อยๆ น้อยลง
elementary school – a school for children between the ages of about 6 and 11 or 12 โรงเรียนประถม
widespread – happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people อย่างแพร่หลาย
destruction – when something is destroyed การทำลาย, ภาวะที่ถูกทำลาย
strip – to remove, pull or tear the covering or outer layer from something กวาด, ลอก,ปอก
utility – a service provided for the public, for example an electricity, water or gas supply  สาธารณูปโภค, การบริการสาธารณะ
expose – to uncover เปิดออก
trigger – to cause ก่อให้เกิด กระตุ้น
localise – to limit something or its effects to a particular area จำกัดวง
evacuate – to cause to leave a place because it is not safe เคลื่อนย้ายออกจาก
sustain – to experience, injury, damage, loss, etc. ประสบกับ (ความสูญเสีย การเจ็บป่วย)
storm spotter – storm watcher; a person who watches for major storms and goes out to find and film them
estimate – to say what you think an amount or value is or will be, either by using available information or by guessing คาดคะเน
wedge – a piece of wood, rubber, metal, etc. with one thick end and one thin pointed end that you use to keep a door open, to keep two things apart, or to split wood or rock; something that is shaped like a wedge or that is used like a wedge  ลิ่ม
briefly – for a short time ชั่วครู่, สั้นๆ, ในเวลาสั้นๆ
threaten – to put at risk; to put in danger ทำให้ตกอยู่ในความเสี่ยง
anticipate – to guess or expect that something will happen คาดการณ์
grim – worried; without hope
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
preliminary – early; not final ขั้นต้น, ขั้นแรก, เบื้องต้น, ชั้นต้น
rating – a measurement of how important, big, good or popular someone or something is  การประเมิน
indicate – to show แสดง
severe – very serious and unpleasant รุนแรง
category – a group having similar qualities ประเภท
hurricane – a violent storm with very strong winds, especially in the western Atlantic Ocean พายุเฮอริเคน
siren – a piece of equipment that makes a loud sound, used for warning people  เสียงหวอ, ไซเรน, สัญญาณเตือนภัย
artery – an important road, railway, or river เส้นทางหลัก
emergency – an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary เหตุฉุกเฉิน
live – happening now, i.e., not recorded earlier ถ่ายทอดสด
wander – roam; to travel from place to place without a particular direction or purpose เดินทางไปโดยไม่มีจุดหมายที่แน่นอน, ร่อนเร่
debris – broken pieces that are left when something large has been destroyed  เศษ ซากปรักหักพัง  ซากสิ่งของที่ถูกทำลาย
tether – to tie an animal to a post so that it cannot move very far (untethered means “not tethered”) ล่ามด้วยเชือก
stable – a building in which horses are kept คอกม้า, โรงม้า
stables – an organisation that keeps horses for a particular purpose
survive – to stay alive after a difficult or dangerous situation มีชีวิตรอด
unbearable - too painful or unpleasant for you to continue to experience ซึ่งไม่สามารถทนได้, ซึ่งทนไม่ไหว, ซึ่งเหลืออด
twister – a tornado; a violent storm that is caused by a powerful spinning column of air พายุทอร์นาโด, พายุหมุน
stall – a section inside a farm building that is large enough for one animal to be kept in คอก, คอกสัตว์
frequently – happening often บ่อยๆ
plains – a large area of flat land ที่ราบ
populated – having large numbers of people living there มีผู้คนจำนวนมากอาศัยอยู่ที่นั่น
urban – connected with towns and cities เขตเมือง
casualty toll – the number of deaths and/or injuries จำนวนผู้บาดเจ็บล้มตาย
basement – the part of a building that is partly or completely below the level of the ground ห้องใต้ดิน
alley – a long narrow area
vulnerable – easily damaged or harmed ซึ่งถูกทำลายได้ง่าย
churn – to move water, mud, etc. around violently หมุนวนอย่างแรง
spawn – to create ก่อตัวขึ้นเป็นจำนวนมาก
media – radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group สื่อ

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