The state of Oklahoma has a total population of less than 3.8 million. Compare that to the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex with a population of 7 million. The Texas-Oklahoma border on the Red River is less than 100 miles from anywhere in the DFW metroplex.
As many of my regular readers and Twitter followers know, I am very fond of the my neighbors and Patriots in the Great State of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is the ONLY state in the country where both McCain and Romney defeated Obama in every single country in the state. Oklahoma, home of the Crimson and Cream is the most Red State in our nation.
Yesterday afternoon around 3pm, an enormous tornado roared through Cleveland County and Oklahoma County, killing at least 51 people, including 20 children. There are still 24 third grade children missing from an elementary school that took a direct hit from the EF5 tornado.
Governor Perry immediately deployed three Texas Task Force Rescue Teams, including canines, to assist our neighbors in Oklahoma.
The twister pulverized entire city blocks, left behind miles of mangled cars and splintered wood, and destroyed Plaza Towers Elementary School where seven children were found dead before nightfall.
Crews frantically searched the wreckage and were only beginning to get a sense of the destruction when night fell hours later. Officials warned the death toll could climb. At one hospital, 85 patients, including 65 children, were being treated for minor to critical injuries.
“The whole city looks like a debris field,” said Mayor Glenn Lewis of the city of Moore, which was hardest hit.
Students in fourth, fifth and sixth grade were evacuated to a church, but students in lower grades had sheltered in place, KFOR reported. More than two hours after the tornado struck, several children were pulled out alive.
The twister was a mile wide at its base, according to The Weather Channel, and a reporter for KFOR said the tornado kicked up a cloud of debris perhaps two miles wide. The National Weather Service initially classified the storm as an EF4, the second-strongest type, with winds of 166 to 200 mph. However, the storm may be upgraded to an EF5, after further evaluation today. Less than 1% (.05%) of tornados are rated EF4 or EF5, but those storms account for 90% of injuries and fatalities resulting from the storms.
The tornado struck at mid-afternoon and tore a 20-mile path, said Rick Smith, another weather service meteorologist. He said it was on the ground for 40 minutes. Much of the storm’s rampage was captured on live television, perhaps alerting people in its path to seek shelter.
You can help our neighbors and fellow patriots immediately by donating to the following organizations, which are already providing help on the ground:
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief
This organization says donations will “go straight to help those in need providing tree removal services, laundry services and meals to victims of disasters.”
It is requesting monetary donations (It says clothing is NOT needed). For more information, and to donate, visit Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief’s website.
You can send checks to: BGCO, Attn: Disaster Relief, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK., 73112.
The Salvation Army is organizing disaster response units to serve hard-hit areas in central Oklahoma, including Moore, where it is sending mobile kitchens that can serve meals to 2,500 people a day, and to South Oklahoma City.
Supporters can donate online via the organization’s website, SalvationArmyUSA.org. You can also text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation from a cell phone.
If you want to send a check, the Salvation Army asks that you put the words “Oklahoma Tornado Relief” on the check, and mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK., 73157.
Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Food Bank are already delivering truck loads of food, water and supplies to the communities struck by the yesterday’s tornado and set up additional emergency food and supply distribution sites as they are needed. You can donate online here. Text FOOD to 32333 to donate $10 from your cell phone to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.