UPDATE: Weather service confirms Oklahoma tornado an EF-5 - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Weather service confirms Oklahoma tornado an EF-5

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Moore, Okla., was a top-of-the-scale EF-5 twister with winds of at least 200 mph.

Spokeswoman Keli Pirtle said Tuesday the agency upgraded the tornado from an EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale to an EF-5 based on what a damage assessment team saw on the ground. The weather service uses the word "incredible" to describe the power of EF-5 storms.

The weather service says the tornado's path was 17 miles long and 1.3 miles wide.

Pirtle says Monday's twister is the first EF-5 tornado of 2013.

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- The state medical examiner's office has revised the death toll from a tornado in an Oklahoma City suburb to 24 people, including seven children.

Spokeswoman Amy Elliot said Tuesday morning that she believes some victims were counted twice in the early chaos of the storm. Authorities said initially that as many as 51 people were dead, including 20 children.

Teams are continuing to search the rubble in Moore, 10 miles south of Oklahoma City, after the Monday afternoon tornado.

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office says a growing death toll from a massive tornado that struck outside Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon now stands at 51. Spokeswoman Amy Elliott says the death toll is again expected to rise. Elliott says children are among those killed by the storm.

Officials at two hospitals say they've been treating more than 120 patients, including about 50 children, since a massive tornado hit suburban Oklahoma City.

Spokeswoman Brooke Cayot says nine of 57 patients who are being treated at the Integris Southwest Medical Center were listed in critical condition after Monday afternoon's tornado. Nineteen were in serious condition and 29 were listed in fair or good condition.

She said five of the patients were children who have since been treated and released.

OU Medical Center spokesman Scott Coppenbarger says his hospital and a nearby children's hospital are treating approximately 65 patients, including 45 children.

He said those patients ranged from minor injuries to critical condition.

President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in Oklahoma as the state recovers from a massive tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, killing dozens and flattening entire neighborhoods.

Obama has ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. Individuals and business owners affected by the disaster may apply for federal grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says "hearts are broken" for parents wondering about the fate of their children after a tornado devastated suburban Oklahoma City and officials say the search and rescue effort will continue throughout the night.

Fallin told a Monday news conference that a center for those seeking loved ones has been set up at a church in Moore, where an afternoon tornado flattened entire neighborhoods and destroyed an elementary school with a direct hit. She says responders are working as quickly as they can to sort through the rubble.

Authorities who joined Fallin say search and rescue efforts are ongoing and will continue overnight.

The governor says the state will spare no resource in the tornado recovery and will consider using Oklahoma's rainy day fund in the effort.

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office says 37 people have been killed by a tornado that hit suburban Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon. Spokeswoman Amy Elliott says the death toll is expected to rise. Elliott didn't know how many of those killed were children.

Officials at two hospitals say they're treating nearly 60 patients, including more than a dozen children, after a massive tornado hit suburban Oklahoma City.

Integris Southwest Medical Center spokeswoman Brooke Cayot said 10 of 37 patients being treated at that facility Monday are listed in critical condition. Twelve are in serious and 15 others are listed in fair or good condition.

Five of the patients are children, including two who came from the Plaza Towers Elementary School, where an Associated Press photographer saw several children being pulled from the rubble. Cayot could not confirm the children's conditions.

Spokesman Scott Coppenbarger says another 20 patients of various ages are being treated at OU Medical Center. He says eight of them are children.

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Several children have been pulled out of the rubble alive at a school in an Oklahoma City suburb.

An Associated Press photographer saw several children being pulled out of what was left of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on Monday after a massive tornado hit the region.

Rescue workers lifted children from the rubble before they were passed down a human chain and taken to a triage center set up in the school's parking lot.

The school is southwest of Oklahoma City. Its roof appears mangled and the walls had fallen in or had collapsed.

The National Weather Service said the tornado's preliminary classification was an EF-4, with winds up to 200 mph.

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) - A monstrous tornado as much as a mile wide roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths, but the storm laid waste to scores of buildings in Moore, south of the city. Block after block of the community lay in ruins, with heaps of debris piled up where homes used to be. Cars and trucks were left crumpled on the roadside.

Volunteers and first responders were searching through debris looking for survivors. Television footage showed first-responders picking through rubble and twisted metal.

Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson said downed power lines and open gas lines posed a risk in the aftermath of the system.

The storm seemed to blow neighborhoods apart instantly, scattering shards of wood and pieces of insulation across the scarred landscape.

The same suburb was hit hard by a tornado in 1999. That storm had the highest winds ever recorded near the earth's surface.

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- National Weather Service: Tornado in suburban Oklahoma City had winds up to 200 mph.

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- A mix of volunteers and first responders are combing through debris in an Oklahoma City suburb looking for survivors.

The city of Moore, Okla., was hit by a mile-wide tornado on Monday afternoon.

People wearing neon-green vests were joined by residents in the search through rubble. Neighborhoods are flattened and homes blown apart.

Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department says an elementary school took a direct hit from the mile-wide tornado, but did not say which school was hit.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Shards of wood and pieces of insulation were strewn everywhere. Television footage also showed first responders picking through rubble and twisted metal.

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Neighborhoods are flattened and buildings are on fire after a mile-wide tornado moved through the Oklahoma City area.

Television footage on Monday afternoon showed homes and buildings that had been reduced to rubble in Moore, Okla., south of Oklahoma City. Footage also showed vehicles littering roadways south and southwest of Oklahoma City.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The suburb of Moore was hit hard by a tornado in 1999. The storm had the highest winds ever recorded near the earth's surface.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A large tornado is bearing down near Oklahoma City, part of a series of severe storms expected across portions of the Midwest.

Television footage shows a funnel cloud touching down southwest of the city on Monday, and radar indicates it is moving toward the state's capital city.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives canceled its afternoon sessions so Capitol employees and state lawmakers could take shelter. Sirens blared and workers made their way to the Capitol basement.

Oklahoma City's southeastern suburbs were hit by a storm Sunday and two people died. Monday's storm is in an area that is more densely populated.

Monday's storm is also near where a violent twister hit May 3, 1999. That storm carried the highest winds ever recorded on earth.

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