- Created on 21 May 2013
(CNN) -- At least 24 people -- including nine children -- were killed when a massive tornado struck an area outside Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon, officials said.
At least seven of those children were killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma, police said. Emergency personnel on Tuesday continued to scour the school's rubble -- a scene of twisted I-beams and crumbled cinder blocks.
The tornado was estimated to be at least two miles wide at one point as it moved through Moore, in the southern part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, KFOR reported. The preliminary rating of the tornado was at least EF4 (166 to 200 mph), the National Weather Service said.
Kevin Durant, star of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, pledged $1 million through his family foundation to American Red Cross disaster relief efforts in tornado-hit central Oklahoma, the Red Cross said Tuesday.
-- The tornado that slammed the Oklahoma City area tore through a 17 mile path, the National Weather Service said. The agency said survey crews indicated that the twister began 4.4 miles west of the city of Newcastle and ended 4.8 miles east of the city of Moore.
--At least 237 people were injured on Monday in the tornado and storm that devastated central Oklahoma, the state's Office of Emergency Management said Tuesday, citing the Health Department. At least 24 people were killed in the disaster.
-- Members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation were planning to head back home from Washington on Tuesday in the aftermath of the devastating Oklahoma tornado. They are Sens. James Inhofe and Tom Coburn, and Reps. Jim Bridenstine, Markwayne Mullin, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole, and James Lankford.
-- Oklahoma officials have revised the death toll from Monday's powerful tornado to 24, down from 51. Nine of the fatalities are children.
-- State Rep. Mark McBride, a Republican who represents a district ravaged by Monday's Oklahoma tornado, said he and his family have endured tornadoes for decades but "this is the worst thing" he's ever seen.
-- President Barack Obama said he doesn't yet know the "full extent" of the damage after a powerful tornado slammed central Oklahoma on Monday. "We don't know both the human and economic losses that may have occurred," he said Tuesday.
-- "Oklahoma needs to get everything it needs right away" to recover from the powerful tornado, President Barack Obama said Tuesday.
-- Flags are expected to be lowered at the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday morning in honor of the victims of a massive tornado that struck central Oklahoma the day before, House Speaker John Boehner said.
-- New York's governor expressed his sympathy for Oklahomans in the aftermath of the "horrific tornado" that swept through the Oklahoma City region on Monday. "Here in New York we know firsthand the devastation and pain caused by natural disasters, and in difficult times like these we, more than ever, stand with our fellow Americans," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday.
-- The storm system behind Monday's twister and several on Sunday is threatening a large swath of the United States on Tuesday, putting 53 million people at risk of severe weather. In the bull's-eye Tuesday are parts of north-central Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and northern Arkansas and Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service.
-- Oklahoma first and foremost needs donations to rebuild after tornadoes slammed the state, Gov. Mary Fallin told CNN on Tuesday.
-- More than 40,000 customers remain without power Tuesday after a powerful tornado slammed the Oklahoma City region, a utility spokesman said. More than half of those customers were in the heavily damaged suburb of Moore, according to Brian Alford, a spokesman for Oklahoma Gas & Electric.
-- Glenn Lewis, the mayor of tornado-ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, told CNN on Tuesday the rescue effort is continuing and "we're very optimistic we might find one or two people."
-- Personnel have rescued 101 people from rubble in metropolitan Oklahoma City after a tornado hit the area Monday, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management representative Terri Watkins said Tuesday morning. Watkins cited an Oklahoma Highway Patrol tally of rescues from all agencies.
-- Some of the children killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma, during Monday's storm drowned in a basement area there, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb told CNN Tuesday morning. "My understanding, this school ... Plaza Towers, they had a basement. Quite frankly, don't mean to be graphic, but that's why some of the children drowned, because they were in the basement area," he said. Officials have said the storm killed at least seven children at the school.
-- Obama signed a disaster declaration for Oklahoma on Monday night, a White House statement said. The declaration means federal emergency aid will supplement local recovery efforts.
-- The president told the Oklahoma governor that the federal government "stands ready to provide all available assistance" as part of the response to a series of deadly storms that have struck the Oklahoma City area, including Monday's devastating tornado.
-- World leaders, including those in France, Germany, Pakistan and Spain, passed along their condolences to President Obama and the American people. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II expressed her "deepest sympathies" to those affected and Pope Francis urged people to pray for families of those who've died, "especially those who lost young children."
CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.
- Created on 21 May 2013
Progressive protests against a wave of conservative legislation in the North Carolina State House show little sign of weakening at the one month milestone. Case in point, Monday evening, more than 600 supporters gathered at the General Assembly in Raleigh and 60 demonstrators were arrested, after pre-planned acts of civil disobedience....
- Created on 21 May 2013
With a unanimous vote on Monday, the Atlanta City Council approved the installation of a 20-story Ferris wheel next to Centennial Olympic Park that is expected to provide riders with a new and unique view of the city.
The council’s vote was needed to approve the plan to ensure it would fit near existing sidewalks, utilities and the streetcar system currently being built.
The project, called Skyview Atlanta, was a no-brainer according to Councilman Kwanza Hall who told WXIA that building the Ferris wheel will not require money from the city because it is a private project on private land.
“I think we only benefit from a tax revenue perspective,” said Hall. “We get cash in, in this case, so we don’t have to make any investments or anything like that.”
The two St. Louis businessmen bringing the Ferris wheel to Atlanta, Todd Schneider and Al Mers of Pacific Development LLC, are going to assemble the 180-foot-tall wheel in a parking lot next to The Tabernacle, Skyview Atlanta spokesman Jason Evans said.
The Ferris wheel was first set up in Paris, then moved to Pensacola, and is now in Pennsylvania, waiting to come to its new home in Atlanta, the station reports.
The attraction will reportedly feature 42 “fully enclosed climate-controlled gondolas” that fit six people each. Rides would take 12 to 15 minutes and promise views of Centennial Olympic Park and the downtown skyline.
"I think it's something people are going to really enjoy," Evans said. "They're going to see the city from an angle they probably haven't seen before."
Operators expect to attract 1,000 to 3,000 passengers each day. The attraction would operate seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to midnight.
The ride is expected to cost between $12- $13 per passenger.
- Created on 21 May 2013
President Barack Obama pledged urgent government help for Oklahoma Tuesday in the wake of “one of the most destructive” storms in the nation’s history.
“In an instant neighborhoods were destroyed, dozens of people lost their lives, many more were injured,” Obama said from the Whi...
- Created on 21 May 2013
(CNN) -- For the second day in a row, violent storms have ripped through America's heartland.
Much of Moore, Oklahoma, which is just outside of Oklahoma City, is now a devastated pile of rubble.
The search and rescue mission continues this evening after a massive tornado touched down Monday afternoon. CNN affiliate KFOR reported that at one time, the tornado was estimated to be at least 2 miles wide, and the National Weather Service is also saying the scale of the tornado is at least EF4. This is the second most severe classification of tornado.
It is clear the days ahead are grave for the people of Oklahoma and the need for help will be immense.
There are several organizations already mobilizing on the ground in Moore, and you can help as well through these groups:
The Red Cross
The Red Cross of Oklahoma has activated its safe and well website for those who are trying to reconnect with loved ones. Red Cross officials and volunteers are also beginning to open shelters. The first is at St. Andrews Church. You can help their efforts by donating to the Red Cross online or by texting REDCROSS to 90999.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has also jumped into action. It's in multiple locations throughout cities in Oklahoma providing food, hydration and emotional support to first responders and storm survivors. You can contribute to the Salvation Army by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769), online on their website, by texting "STORM" to 80888 to make an automatic $10 donation or by mail:
The Salvation Army PO Box 12600 Oklahoma City, OK 73157
Feeding America is responding by providing food, water and supplies to the residents of the devastated towns in Oklahoma. The group will continue to assess the need on the ground for more assistance as recovery efforts continue.
Samaritan's Purse deployed a group of staff members to travel from its North Carolina headquarters to head to Oklahoma with a Disaster Relief Unit. The unit is a tractor trailer stocked with emergency supplies and equipment.
Global health and disaster relief nonprofit AmeriCares is also mobilizing a team to help in Oklahoma. Its emergency response team is headed to the region to coordinate deliveries of relief supplies and medical aid for survivors. The team is expected to arrive by morning.
Team Rubicon, a group of military veterans who respond to disaster, have issued the call to members and is heading to the region. By Tuesday morning, initial assessment teams will be on the ground, and they will then mobilize a full response to help the people affected by these storms.