7 Things You Should Know About the Oklahoma Tornado

PHOTO: MOORE, OK - MAY 20: People assess the damage after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 20, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma.

Brett Deering/Getty Images

The tornado that hit Oklahoma City and surrounding areas on Monday afternoon was devastating, killing dozens and leveling entire neighborhoods. As the nation comes together to help those affected by the disaster, here are a few things you should know about the storm and its aftermath.

1. Less than one percent of tornadoes are as strong as the twister that struck Moore, Oklahoma. The tornado was categorized as an EF5 storm on the "Enhanced Fujita" scale, the most severe category on the scale used to appraise the strength of such weather patterns, the National Weather Service says.

2. The storm had gusts of up to 200 miles per hour. Winds at this strength can pick up vehicles and buildings and even do serious damage to steel-reinforced structures. The reality is that in order to effectively weather this kind of disaster you generally need to be in some sort of reinforced basement. The last tornado that hit this area in 1999, and loosely tracked the same path, had wind speeds of up to 300 miles per hour.

3. The tornado destroyed two elementary schools, Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary. At one school, dozens of children were reportedly trapped under debris and fallen beams as workers struggled to rescue them.

4. The cost of the tornado's damages is estimated at $1 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds would be made to support efforts in the area.

5. The tornado was estimated to be between a half-mile to a mile-wide, but the path of destruction it left was at least two miles wide and 22 miles long, according to CNN.

6. The medical examiner's office in Moore, Oklahoma said at least 24 are dead. But The New York Times reports that the storm killed at least 91 people in the entire region. It also sent at least 145 injured to local hospitals, including 70 children.

7. Here's a list of ways you can help those in need, compiled by NPR.

UPDATE 4:30 PM: A former version of this article noted that the tornado was categorized as at least an EF4 storm on the "Enhanced Fujita" by the National Weather Service. The tornado is now categorized as an EF5 storm.

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