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Oklahoma tornado: 24 bodies recovered, say officials

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Oklahoma tornado: 24 bodies recovered, say officials

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Emergency workers have been searching for survivors after a tornado ripped through a suburb of Oklahoma city in the US.

Officials have now lowered the number of deaths thought to have been caused by the storm. Twenty-four bodies are said to have been recovered. But there is a warning that more could be found.

Thunderstorms and lightning have been slowing the rescue effort.

The three kilometre wide twister, with winds of up to 320 kilometres per hour, flattened large swathes of Moore – destroying everything in its path.

The Plaza Towers Elementary School took a direct hit, its roof was ripped off and its walls collapsed. Another school and a hospital were among the other buildings levelled in Moore, which is home to around 50 thousand people.

The area was given a 16 minute warning before the tornado touched down on Monday afternoon.

US President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in Oklahoma and has offered federal aid to boost state and local recovery efforts.

  • American flag

    An American flag lies on top of an overturned car after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. A 3-km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 91 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

  • Children with dog

    Abby Madi (L) and Peterson Zatterlee comforts Zaterlee's dog Rippy, after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. A 3-km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 91 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

  • Destroyed cars

    Destroyed cars are seen along Interstate 35 after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. A 3-km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 91 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

  • Gas pumps missing

    Gas pumps islands are seen without pumps after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. A 3-km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 91 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

  • Two girls

    Two girls stand in rubble after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. A 3-km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 91 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

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Where:“Tri-State” (Missouri, Illinois and Indiana)
When: March 18, 1925
Casualties: 695

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When: May 7, 1840
Casualties: 317

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When: May 27, 1896
Casualties: 255

Where: Tupelo, Mississippi
When: April 5, 1936
Casualties: 216

Where: Gainesville, Georgia
When: April 5, 1936
Casualties: 203

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When: April 9, 1947
Casualties: 181

Where: Joplin, Missouri
When: May 22, 2011
Casualties: 158

Where: Amite, Louisiana and Purvis, Mississippi
When: April 24, 1908
Casualties: 143

Where: New Richmond, Wisconsin
When: June 12, 1899
Casualties: 117

Where: Flint, Michigan
When: June 8, 1953
Casualties: 116