Mayor Glenn Lewis of Moore City is on 'Starting Point' talking with CNN's Brian Todd. Mayor Lewis says his heart goes out to the families. "Right now, we're starting our recovery efforts at City Hall," he says.
Tornado hit two elementary schools in Moore, Oklahoma. The school in the direct path of the storm was Plaza Towers Elementary School. About 75 students and staff members were hunkered down in Plaza Towers when the tornado struck.
CNN's Pamela Brown: 'Many teachers are being hailed as heroes in their race to rescue children caught in the tornado Monday.'
Pamela Brown is reporting for ‘Starting Point’ from amidst the destruction.
Kevin Rolfs And Jimmy Story Of Basehunters Chasing are on 'Starting Point' talking with John Berman about the footage they captured chasing a massive tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma on Monday evening.
The pair estimate that they got within a 1/4 of a mile of the tornado. For them the experience was absolutely 'surreal.' They describe the tornado as just 'massive', and that the roar from the tornado was 'deafening.' You could feel the ground shake, and feel the 'reverberations off the power of the tornado.'
Lt. Governor of Oklahoma, Todd Lamb is on 'Starting Point' talking with CNN's Chris Cuomo about the recovery effort taking place in Oklahoma in the wake of a fatal tornado.
As the death toll climbs, Lt. Governor Todd Lamb says, "We'll continue to hope that we find life this morning..."
CNN’s Brian Todd speaks to the Mayor of Moore City about the devastation his community is facing and the search and rescue efforts currently in motion. Mayor Glenn Lewis says he’s hoping they will find more victims alive, having already had “a major loss of life here; 51 people, 20 of them are kids.” Mayor Lewis says his heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones.
"Right now, we are starting our recovery efforts at City Hall," he says. Mayor Lewis says they have already issued traffic signs for rescue vehicles to navigate the destruction. “We do the traffic signs because when you’re in one of those neighborhoods, you can’t tell where you’re at.”
Todd asks the mayor why the elementary school that was hardest hit did not have a shelter in it. “It’s because of the cost,” Mayor Lewis answers. He says that most of the schools in Oklahoma do not have shelters, but he is sure that this will change. “The school system and city are two separate entities, but I'm sure we'll be talking to them and trying to get FEMA money to help rebuild these schools.”
Many teachers are being hailed as heroes today in their race to rescue school children caught in the tornado Monday afternoon. Pam Brown has more on the story live from Oklahoma.
As the death toll reaches 51 and is expected to climb, Oklahoma Lieutuenant Governor Todd Lamb remarks on the rescue and recovery efforts. "We always have hope. We always have faith," he says. "And we'll continue to hope that we find life this morning and throughout the day."
Lieutenant Governor Lamb explains that there was an adequate warning system in place before the tornado struck and fair warning for potential tornadic activity from meteorologists. While those who have lost a loved one may not think so, Governor Lamb says, "The tornado sirens were activated. They went off very loudly, very audibly." But the focus is now on search and rescue efforts.
He puts the devastation in perspective, describing the tornado as a "two-mile-wide lawnmower blade going over a community...It's significant and the clean-up will be for some time."
Oklahoma is one of five states hard-hit by an outbreak of violent tornadoes. The Governor of Oklahoma Mary Fallin is on 'Starting Point' talking with Zoraida Sambolin about the damage and destruction these tornadoes caused the state. At least four of them touching down in the central part of the state. One person has died in that state, and anywhere from a dozen to two dozen people have been reported injured.
The Governor plans to tour the state today to survey the damage.
Storm Chasers Kevin Rolfs, Colt Forney and Scott Peake of Basehunters Chasing captured dramatic footage of tornadoes in Kansas. At least 4 tornadoes were reported in Kansas. The trio are on 'Starting Point talking with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin about their experience. They were as close as an half-mile away from the tornadoes.
61 homes in the affected area were originally built by volunteers from Habitat for Humanity, and in the wake of Wednesday night's destruction, members of the organization are there on the ground in Texas. Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathon Reckford is on 'Starting Point' talking with John Berman about how the organizations plans to help the victims in this area.