A powerful tornado ripped thorough an Oklahoma City suburb Monday, leveling countless homes and hitting at least two schools, according to local news reports.
Local television station KFOR, from its news helicopter, showed wide swaths of Moore, a community of 55,000 to the south of Oklahoma’s state capital, reduced to rubble.
Storm spotters estimated the tornado, which struck in mid-afternoon, to be two miles (3.2 kilometers) wide.
“We anticipate that these storms are going to continue to build around Oklahoma,” Governor Mary Fallin told CNN as the National Weather Service urged the state’s residents to take cover.
In downtown Oklahoma City, tornado sirens went off at least three times.
Tornadoes frequently touch down on Oklahoma’s wide open plains, but the fact that Monday’s twister struck a populated urban area raised fears of a high casualty toll.
On Sunday, a powerful storm system churning through the US Midwest spawned tornadoes in Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma, destroying homes and killing at least one person, US media reported.