NEW: Injured toll at 353, governor says
President Obama to visit region Sunday
All residents of Moore have now been accounted for, mayor says
2,400 homes were damaged in Moore and Oklahoma City
At least 24 people, including 10 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 scoured the school’s rubble – a scene of twisted I-beams and crumbled cinder blocks.
The tornado was 1.3 miles wide as it moved through Moore, in the southern part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, the National Weather Service said. The estimated peak wind ranged from 200 to 210 mph, which would make it an EF5, the most powerful category of tornado possible, according to the agency.
– The number of people injured during the devastating tornado is 353, Gov. Mary Fallin’s office said in a statement Wednesday evening.
– Moore, Oklahoma, Mayor Glenn Lewis said Wednesday that the last six people missing from this week’s tornado have been accounted for. Five were found alive. The sixth is dead, and the body was located at the medical examiner’s office. The mayor was not sure whether that death was included in the official count of 24.
– About 4,000 insurance claims have been filed so far, said Kelly Collins, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Insurance Department.
– President Obama will travel to tornado-ravaged Oklahoma on Sunday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
– Residents of Moore will be allowed back into their neighborhoods as of 3 p.m. local time Wednesday, Mayor Glenn Lewis said . Light vehicles will be allowed but heavy equipment, trailers and satellite trucks will be prohibited, he said. Press will be allowed, but the media will have to be out by dark
– About 10,000 customers in Moore still don’t have power, down from a high of 37,000, Gov. Mary Fallin’s office said.
– Insurance claims related to damage from Monday’s tornado and storm in metropolitan Oklahoma City are likely to top $2 billion, said Collins.
– The state Medical Examiner’s Office, which is starting to release the names of the people who died in the disaster, said 10 of the 24 people who died are children.
– The mayor of Moore said he’ll try to get an ordinance passed requiring storm shelters or safe rooms in new housing projects. “I have six councilmen, and I need four votes to get it passed,” Mayor Glenn Lewis told CNN on Wednesday.
– The seven child victims at Plaza Towers Elementary were in a classroom – not a basement – and they did not die from flooding, Moore Fire Department Chief Gary Bird told CNN on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb told CNN the children had drowned in a school basement.
– Craig Fugate, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, told CNN the agency is in “good shape” to support the recovery in Oklahoma and in other disaster zones, such as rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey and New York. “We got full allocation last year with the Sandy supplemental funds. We are looking to continue the response here as well as the previous disasters. If we have another hurricane, we may need more money,” he said Wednesday.
– About 2,400 homes were damaged in Moore and Oklahoma City, said Jerry Lojka of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Some 10,000 people were directly affected by the tornado, he said.