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UPDATED:Threat of severe weather and possible tornadoes in parts of U.S.

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UPDATED 9:43 a.m.: Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A band of thunderstorms is moving through the southern states of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi headed east today. The thunderstorms produced damaging winds and hail in parts of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi yesterday. The day before, Monday, the powerful weather system sent a deadly tornado plowing through Moore, Oklahoma, leaving a 17 mile trail of destruction. At times, packing winds of 200 mph, the National Weather Service has classified the twister as EF5 — the strongest category for tornadoes.

240 people in Moore were injured. Two dozen killed, including 9 children. Initially, there were fears the death toll could reach 100.  Today the search and rescue efforts in Moore more into the recovery stage, according to officials.

 

That severe weather system which caused incredible devastation in Moore, Oklahoma yesterday, is still a threat today. The system spun up a  killer tornado, more than a half mile wide, and it rolled through Moore, a small town near Oklahoma City.. Thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed, two dozen confirmed dead, and scores still missing. The death toll will probably go higher.

From Texas to Oklahoma, to Arkansas and Louisiana, millions are facing the threat of severe storms and even tornadoes from this deadly weather system.

President Obama’s spoke about the tragic scene in Oklahoma today.

Remarks by the President on the Tornadoes and Severe Weather in Oklahoma, The White House 10:08 EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  As we all know by now, a series of storms swept across the Plains yesterday, and one of the most destructive tornadoes in history sliced through the towns of Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma.  In an instant, neighborhoods were destroyed.  Dozens of people lost their lives. Many more were injured.  And among the victims were young children, trying to take shelter in the safest place they knew — their school.

So our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma today.

Our gratitude is with the teachers who gave their all to shield their children; with the neighbors, first responders, and emergency personnel who raced to help as soon as the tornado passed; and with all of those who, as darkness fell, searched for survivors through the night.

As a nation, our full focus right now is on the urgent work of rescue, and the hard work of recovery and rebuilding that lies ahead. (The full text of the president’s remarks here.)

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