Oklahoma Focuses On Search And Recovery From Tornado Damage

Oklahoma Focuses On Search And Recovery From Tornado DamageA search-and-rescue effort to find survivors of a monster tornado that pulverized a vast swath of the suburbs of Oklahoma City shifted Tuesday to one of recovery, officials said.

‘Strongest category’

No new survivors or bodies have been found since the early hours after the tornado carved a trail 17 miles long on Monday afternoon. Earlier reports of at least 51 deaths were erroneous, said Amy Elliot, chief administrative officer for the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In the chaotic aftermath of the tornado, Elliot said it appeared some of the dead were counted twice.

Damage assessments conducted Tuesday showed the tornado packed winds, at times, between 200 and 210 miles per hour, making it an EF5 — the strongest category of tornadoes measured, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.


‘Twisted and unfamiliar landscape’

Teams are still evaluating the destruction, and the rating released Tuesday is preliminary. So far, they’ve found that the tornado’s width spanned 1.3 miles — the length of more than 22 football fields lined up end-to-end. Given its breadth and power, it ranks among some of the strongest storms ever to strike the United States, CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

Hardest hit was Moore, Oklahoma — a suburban town of about 56,000 and the site of eerily similar twisters in 1999 and again four years later. The devastation was so complete, the mayor said city officials were racing to print new street signs to help guide rescuers and residents through a suddenly twisted and unfamiliar landscape.

Rescue crews were expected to complete a search for victims by late Tuesday, Moore Fire Chief Gary Bird told CNN. More than 230 people were injured, according to authorities.

Have you ever been a victim of a calamity like this? Tell us how you survived through your ordeal!

Source: Chelsea J. Carter. Brian Todd and Michael Pearson, CNN

Image: Business Insider

Deadly Iran Earthquake Shakes Middle East Region

Deadly Iran Earthquake Shakes Middle East RegionIran has been struck by its most powerful earthquake for more than 50 years, with tremors felt across Pakistan, India and the Middle East. The epicentre of the 7.8-magnitude quake was near the south-eastern city of Khash, close to Pakistan. The quake struck deep and in a remote region, apparently limiting casualties. However, more than 30 people were killed in Pakistan.

‘Strong aftershocks’

The Pakistani military has been mobilised to help with rescue efforts, officials said. Two military helicopters carrying medical teams have been sent to the area and troops will support the relief efforts, they said. The border area has since been shaken by several strong aftershocks.

The earthquake struck in the province of Sistan Baluchistan at about 15:14 local time (10:44 GMT), close to the cities of Khash, which has a population of nearly 180,000, and Saravan, where 250,000 people live. The power of the tremor led to offices being evacuated in Karachi, Pakistan, in the Indian capital of Delhi, and in several Gulf cities.


‘180 times stronger’

Iran’s Fars news agency said the depth of the quake had reduced its impact to the size of a magnitude-4.0 tremor on the surface. Iranian scientists said it was the country’s strongest earthquake for more than 50 years. All communications to the region have been cut, and the Red Crescent said it was sending 20 search-and-rescue teams with three helicopters to the area.

Mohammad Wazir, a correspondent for BBC Persian in Pakistan, says the quake was felt in the cities of Karachi and Quetta. Tuesday’s earthquake was about 180 times stronger in energy release than a 6.3-magnitude quake that struck on 10 April near the nuclear plant at Bushehr in south-western Iran. That quake killed at least 37 people and wounded 850.

Scientists say earthquakes in south-eastern Iran are triggered by the clash between the Arabia and Eurasia tectonic plates, the former of which is pushing north at a rate of several centimetres each year.

Have you ever been in the middle of a strong earthquake? Share your most terrifying quake experience with us!

Source: BBC News

Image: National Post