Recovery efforts are ongoing in Moore, Oklahoma following Monday’s massive EF4 tornado that claimed the lives of at least 24 people and injured more than 100 others in a suburb of Oklahoma City.
MetroNews Sports Anchor Kyle Wiggs is in Oklahoma City with West Virginia University’s baseball team ahead of the scheduled Big 12 Tournament.
“This storm was on the ground for 40 minutes and it tore through that town of Moore, Oklahoma for a period that lasted nearly 20 minutes. It was two miles wide.” Wiggs said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“It was unlike anything I’ve seen and I think it’s of historic proportion.”
National Weather Service Meteorologist Liz Sommerville agrees.
“We don’t normally see storms quite so large, although Moore has been hit with a very large tornado before and, while a lot of people are saying it was exactly the same track, it was a similar track, but it was not exactly the same,” she said.
Tornados hit Moore in 1999 and again in 2003, with the 1999 storm packing the strongest wind speeds in history.
Preliminary information from the National Weather Service puts Monday’s storm winds at between 166 and 200 mph.
Accuweather Meteorologist Henry Margusity says that kind of wind is deadly.
“If you’ve got a storm shelter, you’re below ground, you have a good chance you’re going to survive it. If you’re above ground, you can go into your bathroom, you can do whatever you want to do, but you’re probably not going to survive because it’s going to wipe your house right off the foundation,” Margusity said.
“Everything is flying around. When you a tornado of that magnitude, it’s scraping the asphalt off the road. It’s so strong that even small rocks become projectiles.”
More than 100 people have been pulled from the rubble in Moore since Monday.
President Barack Obama called the tornado “one of the most destructive storms in history.” “The people of Moore should know that their country will remain on the ground, there for them, beside them, as long as it takes,” the President said from the White House on Tuesday.
Sommerville, with the National Weather Service, went to college at the University of Oklahoma near Moore and now works in Charleston. She says it’s important to remember that tornadoes happen everywhere.
“West Virginia is at risk for tornadoes, just like the Midwest is. Super cells form everywhere,” she said Tuesday. “Every state in the United States has had a tornado, so I don’t want people to think that we would never see that, but, of course, the chances are low for a storm that large.”
Members of WVU’s baseball team loaded up truckloads of supplies from Wal-Mart on Monday night to donate to the relief efforts. The donations were being dropped off at an American Red Cross site near Moore on Tuesday afternoon.
More storms were in the forecast in that area on Tuesday.
Meteorologists in West Virginia are predicting strong storms in the Mountain State for Wednesday.