Tornado levels Oklahoma town, killing at least 37

(RNN) – At least 37 people have died after a second day of tornadoes twisted through Oklahoma, this time taking aim at the town of Moore, south of Oklahoma City.

The National Weather Service described the storm as large and violent, and area hospitals are treating about 60 people. Early reports from KFOR-TV have reported that seven children were found dead at Plaza Towers Elementary, where rescue crews have been trying to rescue those who have been trapped.

Several children were pulled from the debris, passed along in a human chain according to an Associated Press photographer. It's unclear if they are part of the 75 who are still in the school.

First responders dug through leveled homes and scattered debris in neighborhoods, looking for survivors possibly trapped underneath wreckage.

The storm has been given a preliminary rating of EF-4. Tornadoes of that magnitude have wind speeds of anywhere from 166-200 miles per hour.

Briarwood Elementary School in Moore took a direct hit. Children were reportedly trapped inside but according to KWTV, all are safe and have been accounted for.

The first images emerging from Moore show smashed cars, downed power lines and scattered debris. Home owners sorted through the debris, trying to salvage possessions and memories.

An unidentified mother told KOTV she and her two children were taking cover in the bathtub when the tornado blew through their neighborhood.

"Our whole house is gone, everything but where we were is gone," she said, through sobs.

Had she and her children not been in the bathtub "it would have been completely different," she said.

President Barack Obama has spoken with Gov. Mary Fallin, and has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance.

News helicopters were asked not to fly directly over the area so that first responders can hear cries for help from people trapped.

Moore Medical Center sustained significant damage. Patients are being taken to hospitals in Norman, OK.

Interstate 35 in Moore is closed in both directions.

The American Red Cross has set up a shelter for those in need. The University of Oklahoma is also offering shelter at the school.

KOCO broadcast a slow rotating cloud that slowly extended down towards the ground before taking the shape of a funnel.

A storm spotter told CNN that the tornado is three quarters of a mile wide.

The National Weather Service tweeted at 3:03 p.m. "This is as serious as it gets for SW OKC and Moore. Please seek shelter now!"

The Oklahoma House of Representatives canceled any afternoon sessions.

The storm brought back memories of an EF-5 tornado that tore through the area in 1999 and comes a day after two people were killed in Shawnee, OK, when 26 tornadoes raked across Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Illinois. Sunday's storms also injured more than 20.

Glen Irish, 79, and Billy Hutchinson, 76, both from Shawnee, were found dead after Sunday's tornado leveled a central Oklahoma mobile home park, according to the Associated Press.

Two people from that same county were reported missing, but they have since been found and authorities said they were not at home when the tornado hit, according to CNN.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations to aid in their response. Donations can be made a or by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

To donate $10 to the Salvation Army, text 80888 or visit

To search for missing relatives or to register yourself as safe, visit

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