Storms Slam Tornado-Ravaged Area As Town Tries To Rebuild
MOORE, OK — Pounding rain soaked tornado-ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, on Thursday morning, and winds sent pieces of debris flying, hindering recovery efforts three days after the devastating tornado.
In addition to the 24 people killed in Monday’s massive twister, two people died elsewhere in the state in storms Sunday, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said.
“All people thought missing have been accounted for at this time,” Gov. Mary Fallin said.
In all, 377 people have been treated for injuries as a result of this week’s storms, the Department of Emergency Management said. It did not say how many were injured Monday. Fallin said on Twitter that the 377 were injured in the tornado Monday. However, a hospital in Shawnee, Oklahoma, said it treated 11 people injured in the tornado there Sunday
Of the 24 people killed Monday, 10 were children — including two infants, the state medical examiner’s office said.
As water gushed through the streets Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Oklahoma City area, including Moore, and a severe thunderstorm warning.
Strong storms in southwestern Oklahoma City “are making a (southeast) turn toward Moore,” the National Weather Service tweeted at 10:30 a.m. “Small hail, gusty winds, lightning and flooding main threats!”
But shortly after, the service said storms were moving out of the metropolitan Oklahoma City area. “Next chance of storms is late tonight,” the weather service tweeted.
Predictions of heavy wind gusts also brought with them the possibility, though slight, of an isolated twister in the area.
A group of people who rode out Monday’s ferocious tornado in a bank vault huddled together under a tarp early Thursday near a CNN crew.
More thunderstorms could be ahead for the region through Memorial Day weekend.
Officials estimate that 12,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by the EF5 tornado.
On Wednesday, a command center set up to help people with insurance processed 4,000 claims, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak said Thursday.
“We have it down to a science here,” he said.
Some people may choose to move to another neighborhood, but most are indicating they want to rebuild in Moore, Doak said.
The two elementary schools destroyed will be rebuilt, the incoming superintendent of Moore public schools said Thursday.
“That’s the beginning of the healing process,” Robert Romines said.
The schools did not have storm shelters. At one, Plaza Towers Elementary, seven children died.
Six were 9-year-olds who died from asphyxia, or suffocation; one was an 8-year-old killed by blunt force trauma, the state medical examiner’s office said.
Romines said he supports the effort to add storm shelters during the rebuilding. He called for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover it.
Other schools that were rebuilt after a 1999 tornado have such shelters, he said. But numerous other schools don’t. “As funds become available, we will look at that,” Romines said, adding that money “is an obstacle.”
The school year was set to end Thursday.
High school commencement ceremonies will take place Saturday in downtown Oklahoma City, Romines said. The community will “do the best we can and make sure that our students are all taken care of.”
CNN’s Sean Morris, Chuck Johnston, Judson Jones, Vivian Kuo, Jennifer Delgado and John Berman contributed to this report.
By Josh Levs
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