Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 21, 2013

Harrowing scene inside elementary school destroyed by tornado

— MOORE, Okla. — Kelly Law and other teachers marshaled students into the main hallway and central bathrooms at Plaza Towers Elementary School just before Monday's tornado ripped apart the building with winds up to 200 mph.

"It sounded like somebody was going through with a mower and hitting a tin roof," said Law, a teacher's assistant. "… I had my eyes shut. All of us teachers were covering as many heads as we could."

Nine children were among at least two dozen people killed by Monday's tornado in Moore and Oklahoma City, according to the latest death toll reported by The Associated Press. Some victims were said to be inside Plaza Towers.

Law said she didn't know of anyone who died, though she worried about a third-grade class in an auxiliary building behind the main part of the school.

"We were safe," she said. "All of the outside rooms - completely demolished. All of our cars were tossed over."

The massive tornado spun along a path eerily similar to that of a May 3, 1999, tornado that killed 43 people in Moore.

“It’s just hard to believe something like this could happen again to Moore,” said Gov. Mary Fallin, during a press conference outside Moore City Hall on Monday. “Our prayers and thoughts are with the Oklahoma families that have been hit hard by this terrible storm.”

While the death toll from Monday's storm was reported to be as high as 91, the state medical examiner revised the number to 24 on Tuesday, according to the AP. It was expected to change yet again - most likely getting worse.

Monday's storm formed southwest of the Oklahoma City metro area and moved parallel to Interstate 44 before turning east through Moore and parts of southwest Oklahoma City.

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