Tornado hits Oklahoma City suburb (updated)
published : 21 May 2013 at 11:22
writer: Terry Fredrickson
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.
Here's a new video giving close-up views during the Moore tornado and minutes after it passed.
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 à¸¥à¹à¸¡ (à¸à¸¸à¸£à¸à¸´à¸
unimaginable – impossible to think of or to believe exists; impossible to imagine à¸ªà¸¸à¸à¸à¸µà¹à¸à¸°à¸à¸à¸¶à¸à¸à¸´à¸,à¹à¸à¹à¸²à¹à¸à¸¢à¸²à¸,à¸à¸²à¸à¸à¸´à¸à¹à¸¡à¹à¸à¸¶à¸,à¹à¸à¹à¸à¹à¸à¹à¸¡à¹à¹à¸à¹
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 à¸à¸²à¸¢à¸¸à¸à¸à¸£à¹à¸à¸²à¹à¸, à¸à¸²à¸¢à¸¸à¸«à¸¡à¸¸à¸
pulverise – to crush something into a fine powder; to defeat or destroy somebody/something completely à¸à¸³à¹à¸«à¹à¹à¸à¹à¸à¸à¸,à¸à¸, à¸à¸³à¸¥à¸²à¸¢à¸ªà¸´à¹à¸à¹à¸à¸´à¸
suburb – an area or town near a large city but away from its centre à¸à¸²à¸à¹à¸¡à¸·à¸à¸
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 à¹à¸à¸à¸«à¸à¸¶à¹à¸à¸à¸à¸à¸à¸±à¸§à¹à¸¡à¸·à¸à¸
residential community – a place where people live à¹à¸à¸à¸à¸µà¹à¸à¸¢à¸¹à¹à¸à¸²à¸¨à¸±à¸¢
capital – the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from à¹à¸¡à¸·à¸à¸à¸«à¸¥à¸§à¸
trapped – to be unable to leave a place à¸à¸¹à¸à¸à¸±à¸à¸à¸±à¸
anxious – worried because you think something bad might happen à¸à¸µà¹à¸§à¸´à¸à¸à¸à¸±à¸à¸§à¸¥, à¸à¸µà¹à¸£à¹à¸à¸à¹à¸
search – to look somewhere carefully in order to find something à¸à¹à¸à¸«à¸²
rescue – to save a person or animal from a dangerous or unpleasant situation à¸à¹à¸§à¸¢à¸à¸µà¸§à¸´à¸
scramble – to do something in a hurry à¸£à¸µà¸à¹à¸£à¹à¸
dissipate – to cause something to gradually stop or disappear à¸à¹à¸à¸¢à¹ à¸à¹à¸à¸¢à¸¥à¸
elementary school – a school for children between the ages of about 6 and 11 or 12 à¹à¸£à¸à¹à¸£à¸µà¸¢à¸à¸à¸£à¸°à¸à¸¡
widespread – happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people à¸à¸¢à¹à¸²à¸à¹à¸à¸£à¹à¸«à¸¥à¸²à¸¢
destruction – when something is destroyed à¸à¸²à¸£à¸à¸³à¸¥à¸²à¸¢, à¸ à¸²à¸§à¸°à¸à¸µà¹à¸à¸¹à¸à¸à¸³à¸¥à¸²à¸¢
strip – to remove, pull or tear the covering or outer layer from something à¸à¸§à¸²à¸, à¸¥à¸à¸,à¸à¸à¸
utility – a service provided for the public, for example an electricity, water or gas supply à¸ªà¸²à¸à¸²à¸£à¸à¸¹à¸à¹à¸ à¸, à¸à¸²à¸£à¸à¸£à¸´à¸à¸²à¸£à¸ªà¸²à¸à¸²à¸£à¸à¸°
expose – to uncover à¹à¸à¸´à¸à¸à¸à¸
trigger – to cause à¸à¹à¸à¹à¸«à¹à¹à¸à¸´à¸ à¸à¸£à¸°à¸à¸¸à¹à¸
localise – to limit something or its effects to a particular area à¸à¸³à¸à¸±à¸à¸§à¸
evacuate – to cause to leave a place because it is not safe à¹à¸à¸¥à¸·à¹à¸à¸à¸¢à¹à¸²à¸¢à¸à¸à¸à¸à¸²à¸
sustain – to experience, injury, damage, loss, etc. à¸à¸£à¸°à¸ªà¸à¸à¸±à¸ (à¸à¸§à¸²à¸¡à¸ªà¸¹à¸à¹à¸ªà¸µà¸¢ à¸à¸²à¸£à¹à¸à¹à¸à¸à¹à¸§à¸¢)
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 à¸à¸²à¸à¸à¸°à¹à¸
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 à¸¥à¸´à¹à¸¡
briefly – for a short time à¸à¸±à¹à¸§à¸à¸£à¸¹à¹, à¸ªà¸±à¹à¸à¹, à¹à¸à¹à¸§à¸¥à¸²à¸ªà¸±à¹à¸à¹
threaten – to put at risk; to put in danger à¸à¸³à¹à¸«à¹à¸à¸à¸à¸¢à¸¹à¹à¹à¸à¸à¸§à¸²à¸¡à¹à¸ªà¸µà¹à¸¢à¸
anticipate – to guess or expect that something will happen à¸à¸²à¸à¸à¸²à¸£à¸à¹
grim – worried; without hope
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take à¸à¸¥à¸±à¸à¸à¸±à¸, à¸à¸£à¸°à¸à¸¸à¹à¸
preliminary – early; not final à¸à¸±à¹à¸à¸à¹à¸, à¸à¸±à¹à¸à¹à¸£à¸, à¹à¸à¸·à¹à¸à¸à¸à¹à¸, à¸à¸±à¹à¸à¸à¹à¸
rating – a measurement of how important, big, good or popular someone or something is à¸à¸²à¸£à¸à¸£à¸°à¹à¸¡à¸´à¸
indicate – to show à¹à¸ªà¸à¸
severe – very serious and unpleasant à¸£à¸¸à¸à¹à¸£à¸
category – a group having similar qualities à¸à¸£à¸°à¹à¸ à¸
hurricane – a violent storm with very strong winds, especially in the western Atlantic Ocean à¸à¸²à¸¢à¸¸à¹à¸®à¸à¸£à¸´à¹à¸à¸
siren – a piece of equipment that makes a loud sound, used for warning people à¹à¸ªà¸µà¸¢à¸à¸«à¸§à¸, à¹à¸à¹à¸£à¸, à¸ªà¸±à¸à¸à¸²à¸à¹à¸à¸·à¸à¸à¸ à¸±à¸¢
artery – an important road, railway, or river à¹à¸ªà¹à¸à¸à¸²à¸à¸«à¸¥à¸±à¸
emergency – an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary à¹à¸«à¸à¸¸à¸à¸¸à¸à¹à¸à¸´à¸
live – happening now, i.e., not recorded earlier à¸à¹à¸²à¸¢à¸à¸à¸à¸ªà¸
wander – roam; to travel from place to place without a particular direction or purpose à¹à¸à¸´à¸à¸à¸²à¸à¹à¸à¹à¸à¸¢à¹à¸¡à¹à¸¡à¸µà¸à¸¸à¸à¸«à¸¡à¸²à¸¢à¸à¸µà¹à¹à¸à¹à¸à¸à¸, à¸£à¹à¸à¸à¹à¸£à¹
debris – broken pieces that are left when something large has been destroyed à¹à¸¨à¸© à¸à¸²à¸à¸à¸£à¸±à¸à¸«à¸±à¸à¸à¸±à¸ à¸à¸²à¸à¸ªà¸´à¹à¸à¸à¸à¸à¸à¸µà¹à¸à¸¹à¸à¸à¸³à¸¥à¸²à¸¢
tether – to tie an animal to a post so that it cannot move very far (untethered means “not tethered”) à¸¥à¹à¸²à¸¡à¸à¹à¸§à¸¢à¹à¸à¸·à¸à¸
stable – a building in which horses are kept à¸à¸à¸à¸¡à¹à¸², à¹à¸£à¸à¸¡à¹à¸²
stables – an organisation that keeps horses for a particular purpose
survive – to stay alive after a difficult or dangerous situation à¸¡à¸µà¸à¸µà¸§à¸´à¸à¸£à¸à¸
unbearable - too painful or unpleasant for you to continue to experience à¸à¸¶à¹à¸à¹à¸¡à¹à¸ªà¸²à¸¡à¸²à¸£à¸à¸à¸à¹à¸à¹, à¸à¸¶à¹à¸à¸à¸à¹à¸¡à¹à¹à¸«à¸§, à¸à¸¶à¹à¸à¹à¸«à¸¥à¸·à¸à¸à¸
twister – a tornado; a violent storm that is caused by a powerful spinning column of air à¸à¸²à¸¢à¸¸à¸à¸à¸£à¹à¸à¸²à¹à¸, à¸à¸²à¸¢à¸¸à¸«à¸¡à¸¸à¸
stall – a section inside a farm building that is large enough for one animal to be kept in à¸à¸à¸, à¸à¸à¸à¸ªà¸±à¸à¸§à¹
frequently – happening often à¸à¹à¸à¸¢à¹
plains – a large area of flat land à¸à¸µà¹à¸£à¸²à¸
populated – having large numbers of people living there à¸¡à¸µà¸à¸¹à¹à¸à¸à¸à¸³à¸à¸§à¸à¸¡à¸²à¸à¸à¸²à¸¨à¸±à¸¢à¸à¸¢à¸¹à¹à¸à¸µà¹à¸à¸±à¹à¸
urban – connected with towns and cities à¹à¸à¸à¹à¸¡à¸·à¸à¸
casualty toll – the number of deaths and/or injuries à¸à¸³à¸à¸§à¸à¸à¸¹à¹à¸à¸²à¸à¹à¸à¹à¸à¸¥à¹à¸¡à¸à¸²à¸¢
basement – the part of a building that is partly or completely below the level of the ground à¸«à¹à¸à¸à¹à¸à¹à¸à¸´à¸
alley – a long narrow area
vulnerable – easily damaged or harmed à¸à¸¶à¹à¸à¸à¸¹à¸à¸à¸³à¸¥à¸²à¸¢à¹à¸à¹à¸à¹à¸²à¸¢
churn – to move water, mud, etc. around violently à¸«à¸¡à¸¸à¸à¸§à¸à¸à¸¢à¹à¸²à¸à¹à¸£à¸
spawn – to create à¸à¹à¸à¸à¸±à¸§à¸à¸¶à¹à¸à¹à¸à¹à¸à¸à¸³à¸à¸§à¸à¸¡à¸²à¸
media – radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group à¸ªà¸·à¹à¸