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Oklahoma tornado cleanup hindered by thunderstorms

May 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A band of thunderstorms in the Oklahoma City area is slowing cleanup operations over the tornado ravaged suburb.

The thunderstorms brought hail, heavy rain and high winds in the morning. A flash flood warning was also in effect. The National Weather Service said more severe storms were forecast for late afternoon and at night, and that more tornados were a possibility.

The weather is hampering cleanup and recovery efforts that had just begun to accelerate now that all of the missing have been accounted for. Residents were only formally allowed back into the damage zone on Wednesday afternoon, where they picked through enormous piles of debris.

The medical examiner on Thursday released the names of all 24 victims who lost their lives in the tornado that struck Moore, Okla.

Also on Thursday, the first of many funerals took place for a 9-year-old girl. A family photo showed the girl, Antonia Candelaria, beaming with a big smile and wearing a white sun hat.

The victims were identified as:

- Sydney Angle, 9
- Hemant Bhonde, 65
- Richard Brown, 41
- Antonia Candelaria, 9
- Emily Conatzer, 9
- Kyle Davis, 8
- Case Futrell, 4 months
- Megan Futrell, 29
- JaNae Hornsby, 9
- Leslie Johnson, 46
- Rick Jones, 54
- Christopher Legg, 9
- Terri Long, 49
- Nicolas McCabe, 9
- Jenny Neely, 38
- Cindy Plumley, 45
- Shannon Quick, 40
- Tewauna Robinson, 45
- William Sass, 63
- Randy Smith, 39
- Gina Stromski, 51
- Karrina Vargyas, 4
- Sydnee Vargyas, 7 months
- Deanna Ward, 70

Meantime, cellphone video shows a frightening new look at the moment the twister bore down on one elementary school. A teacher at Briarwood Elementary School took the video as she and her students emerged from the bathroom, where they rode out the storm to find devastation.

Miraculously, everyone at Briarwood survived. But just a few miles away at Plaza Towers Elementary, seven students were killed. In all, 24 people lost their lives - 14 adults and 10 children, including 2 infants. Antonia was one of the seven kids killed at Plaza Towers.

The medical examiner reported that six of the children who died at Plaza Towers suffocated after being buried under a mass of bricks, steel and other materials as the building collapsed. A seventh child who died there, 8-year-old Kyle Davis, was killed instantly by an object - perhaps a large piece of stone or a beam - that fell on the back of his neck.

For those who lost homes, the focus now is on the precious things still being found, like a daughter's baby pictures or a doll by a great grandmother.

Early damage estimates put losses at about $2 billion. Whole subdivisions in the fast-growing community of 56,000 people were destroyed.

The mayor of Moore says he will propose an ordinance to require all new homes to have storm shelters. President Barack Obama will travel to Moore on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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