People in Moore, Oklahoma, are starting to rebuild after a three-kilometer-wide tornado hit the city on Monday. Officials say the storm killed 24 people in Moore and nearby areas. More than 200 others were injured.
President Obama declared a major disaster in Oklahoma. His declaration freed up federal money to help state officials with the recovery effort. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin deployed the state National Guard and extra police to assist with rescue operations. She described the tornado as one of the "most horrific" disasters her state has ever faced.
"In many places, homes were absolutely destroyed, taken away. There's just sticks and bricks, basically. It's hard to tell if there was a structure there or not. If you get into some of the major neighborhoods, you can't tell where the streets were. The street signs are gone. And that's been a big challenge for us -- being able to determine which area of a community we might be in because the streets are just gone, the signs are just gone."
Weather experts say the tornado had wind speeds of at least 322 kilometers an hour. It left a path of destruction stretching close to 30 kilometers. The storm flattened large parts of Moore, a city of 60,000 people. A record-setting tornado hit Moore in May of 1999.
On Monday Alfredo Corrales crowded into a small underground shelter with his family and a neighbor.
"Me and the neighbor were just holding on to the hatch, just to keep the door secure. And that wind was blowing over, and the wind was just sucking up on the door. And when it was doing that, the rain was just shooting down into the cellar."
The storm hit two elementary schools just as students were preparing to leave for the day. Both schools were crushed, leaving many children trapped in the wreckage.