Tornado rips through Oklahoma City
(CNN) — A massive tornado struck a suburb of Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon. Details of the destruction are coming in thick and fast from CNN crews, our affiliates and witnesses.
Below is what we’re learning and you can click here for our latest full story:
Updated at 5:41 p.m. ET: Lance West, a reporter for CNN affiliate KFOR, says there are people pulling students from a classroom at an elementary school heavily damaged by the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma. There are no immediate reports on the condition of the children.
Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET: Congressman Tom Cole, who lives in Moore, Oklahoma, tells CNN’s Wolf Blitzer the damage he is seeing on television looks as bad as a 1999 tornado that destroyed more than 1,000 houses in his hometown.
Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET: McClain County Undersheriff Bill Shobe reports there is significant damage near Newcastle, Oklahoma. Shobe went on to say there are a lot of structures with damage north of Newcastle and in the town of Tuttle. Most of the damage is parallel to Highway 37, he said.
Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET: Moore Medical Center in Oklahoma was evacuated after it sustained damages from the tornado, a hospital spokeswoman told CNN’s Sarah Baker. All patients are being evacuated to Norman Regional Hospital and Health Plex Hospital, and residents injured in the storm are being told to go to those centers as well.
Updated at 4:58 p.m. ET: Areas of metropolitan Oklahoma City appeared to be in shreds Monday afternoon. “The houses are destroyed. … Completely leveled,” a helicopter pilot for CNN affiliate KFOR said. A school was apparently among the structures leveled by the twister.
A tornado struck just south of Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon, ripping apart homes and other buildings in populated areas.
The National Weather Service issued a rare tornado emergency for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, meaning that significant and widespread damage and fatalities were likely.
Video from CNN affiliates showed a funnel cloud stretching from the sky to the ground, kicking up debris.
The tornado was estimated to be at least two miles wide at one point as it moved through Moore, Oklahoma, in the southern part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, CNN affiliate KFOR reported.
Meteorologists warned residents to go underground to survive a direct hit from the tornado.