Oklahoma twister that hit Moore ‘more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb’
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Wednesday 22 May 2013
The vast tornado that struck an Oklahoma suburb on Monday afternoon dwarfed even the Hiroshima atomic bomb in its destructive power, according to scientists.
The US National Weather Service said the twister was 1.3 miles wide, and cut a 17-mile-long swathe through Moore, now the only city in the world to have seen two EF-5 tornados, the most powerful category. The community of 56,000 also took a direct hit from a twister packing winds of more than 300mph in 1999.
As emergency workers continued the recovery effort, officials said the search for survivors of the devastating storm was nearing its end. The death toll was revised down from 51 to 24 after the state medical examiner said that some victims may have been mistakenly counted twice.
The dead included 10 children, seven of whom were killed when the storm ripped apart Plaza Towers Elementary School. Among those killed were seven-year-old Karinna Vargyas and her four-month-old sister Sydnee, who died at home. “We just don’t know what to do any more,” their father, Phillip Vargyas, said last night.
On Tuesday afternoon, Gary Bird, Moore’s fire chief, said he was “98 per cent sure” that there were no further victims or survivors left beneath the debris. No one had been found since Monday night.
Emergency crews reportedly struggled to navigate the storm-ravaged neighbourhoods as all the street signs had been destroyed; they were forced to use smartphones and GPS to pick their way through.
Schools, homes and hospitals were all levelled by the tornado, which is known to have injured at least 237 people. Some 100 survivors were pulled from the rubble.
This was the deadliest tornado to strike the US since 2011, when a twister ripped through Joplin, Missouri, claiming 161 lives.
The Mayor of Moore, Glenn Lewis, vowed to drive through a new law requiring stormproof shelters to be built in every new home. “We’ll try to get it passed as soon as we can,” he told CNN.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was due to travel to Oklahoma, while President Barack Obama will fly in on Sunday. A statement tonight said the President would “see first-hand the response to the devastating tornados, visit with impacted families, as well as thank first responders”.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: We are currently looking for a Geog...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...