Residents in the path of the destructive monster tornado that struck Moore, OK had just 16 short minutes to decide how to save their lives when tornado warnings were issued. The destructive peak EF-5 tornado (the highest possible rating on the “enhanced Fujita” scale) packed winds of approximately 210 miles per hour, killed 24 people and injured 377. The enormous twister churned a path of 1.3 miles wide (2.7km) and 17 miles long (27 km), in an excruciatingly long 39 minutes on the ground, sweeping away nearly everything in its path in the densely populated city of Moore, Oklahoma.
More than 12,000 homes were swept away in the blink of an eye, erasing whole subdivisions, leaving them littered with nothing but debris, and affecting 33,000 people. Two schools and a hospital were heavily damaged, and hundreds of cars were picked up and flung through the air landing twisted and mangled sometimes miles from where they had been. In one school nine people were killed including 7 children.
Most homes and buildings in Moore did not have tornado shelters, and neither did the schools. It is the mercy of God that not more people were killed.
This is not your usual Oklahoma tornado, said Rick Smith, the meteorologist who helped approve the “tornado emergency” warning that day (the strongest warning the Weather Service can release). “This is not your usual Oklahoma tornado,” Smith said. “This is different; this is deadly.” When the warning was issued at
2:40 p.m., the people of Moore had only 16 minutes before their city would be assaulted by one of the largest tornados ever causing more than $2 billion in damage.
“While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast.” Great Controversy, page 589-590