May 20, 2013

UPDATE: Several children pulled alive from the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary School. Officials report they may find as many as 32 bodies of young children.

UPDATE: This is how a civilized society reacts to the tragedies of others:

WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is assuring Oklahoma's governor that the Obama administration will provide all possible help to the state after a massive tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburbs.

White House officials said Monday that Napolitano called Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin to tell her that President Barack Obama had directed federal emergency management officials and his administration to ensure no needs go unmet.

Remember, the major effect of global warming is more frequent and more powerful storms:

A monster tornado ripped through southern Oklahoma City and the suburb of Moore on Monday afternoon, leaving homes and schools in ruins and fires burning out of control.

There was no immediate word on casualties, but aerial footage showed major destruction: homes in rubble, cars flipped over and crushed, residents milling around in shock.

"A large part of the community has been affected," Jayme Shelton, a spokesman for Moore, told MSNBC.

A forecaster for NBC station KFOR said the tornado was kicking up a debris cloud about 2 miles wide as it tracked east into residential neighborhoods in the Moore area.

Oklahoma City police told NBC News southern portions of the city as well as the Moore suburb sustained "major damage... a lot of damage."

Two elementary schools were heavily damaged, possibly completely destroyed, KFOR reported. Those schools are Briarwood Elementary in Oklahoma City and Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore, Okla.

Tens of millions of people in the Midwest are on edge as forecasters warn severe conditions could continue for the next couple days. NBC News' Jay Gray reports.

It appeared, however, as if the twister was dissipating and would miss the downtown area, The Weather Channel reported.

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