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Oklahoma Tornado Death Toll Lowered, Central U.S. Prepares For More Storms

Brianna Sacks |
May 21, 2013 | 10:05 a.m. PDT


(Tornado as it passes through Oklahoma City on May 20, 2013/Wikimedia)
(Tornado as it passes through Oklahoma City on May 20, 2013/Wikimedia)
Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma are bracing for more severe weather after powerful tornadoes already killed about 24 in an Oklahoma City suburb, injured hundred of others and caused devastating damage to other parts of the state.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., says golf ball-sized hail, powerful winds and isolated, strong tornadoes could strike many areas of the central U.S., from Michigan to Texas.

Rescuers continue to dig through debris of ravaged homes, schools and buildings Tuesday to search for survivors of the Tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla. yesterday.

 Authorities significantly reduced the confirmed death toll from 51 people to 24, though the death toll could climb again, according to Amy Elliot from the state medical examiner’s office. At least seven children are confirmed dead and dozens more remain hospitalized.

     SEE ALSO: Tornado Hits Oklahoma City, Kills At Least 51
"In an instant neighborhoods were destroyed, dozens of people lost their lives, many more were injured," Obama said from the White House State Dining Room. "Among the victims were young children trying to take shelter in the safest place they knew – their school."

The National Weather Service released a tornado watch for several southeastern Oklahoma counties -- although none include Moore or Oklahoma City -- as well as large parts of northern and eastern Texas. The watch is in effect until 6 p.m. ET, CBS News reported.

Wendi Ryon, a nurse in the central-northeast town of Fort Worth, TX, says tornado watches are frequent in the area, though tornado warnings have become more recent over the past few years.

"Last year was really serious and it looks like this year will be pretty bad, too," she said.

Ryon lives in Southlake, within the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and says that while the weather still remains calm, residents are starting to prepare for severe storms.

"My mom is a kindergarten teacher in Southlake and as of right now they have ben told to get prepared with everything in their classrooms because they are expecting the storm to come through this area," said Ryon.

Arkansas and Louisiana are also preparing for flash flooding as the storm continues to dump several inches of rain Tuesday afternoon. More severe thunderstorms are expected to hit southern Oklahoma and northern Texas.

"We are just waiting until it gets more serious before people star taking cover," said Ryon.



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