Oklahoma Hit by Most Powerful Tornado

Sam Champion tracks the trail of destruction caused by the devastating EF-5.
2:51 | 05/22/13

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Transcript for Oklahoma Hit by Most Powerful Tornado
We learned this touched down with winds of at least 200 miles an hour.Our sam champion joins us also from moore with the latest on all this, good morning, sam. Hey, good morning, robin. There should be safe rooms in every one of those schools and safe rooms in the communities that these people live in. This, by the way, days after the tornado, folks have to live in the debris and we're able to look at the debris and get the telltale signatures of the strength of this storm, yes, it was an ef-5 but there's something about this storm that will shock and surprise you because it did us. The intensification of this storm we have never seen before. Went from an ef-0 to an ef-4 in ten minutes, ten minutes, never seen it before and we know that by looking at the damage. This morning, brand-new images of the newcastle, moore, tornado forming in the distance just as it was beginning its deadly path. Within an hour it would be a massive ef-5 tornado, the most powerful tornado on the planet with winds up to 210 miles an hour. These pictures of destruction at briarwood elementary show the fierce impact when hit with the ultimate force of the highest category of tornado, wiping it to the ground. In an ef-5 tornado what you would expect to see here is cars being tossed more than 100 yards. That's a football field. Vegetation, tree bark specifically is another thing we look at. When you see the bark stripped off the tree you know you're starting at an ef-3, that's the kind of damage you see there then you look at the other damage and may be even higher. This satellite time lapse shows how colossal that was traveling 17 miles in 40 minutes according to some scientists, the energy created while the tornado was on the ground was at least 8 times more powerful than that of an atomic bomb. Over the years we've shown you just how powerful winds can be. Here at the university of florida and at the wind machine at the florida international university. Watch as a 140-mile-per-hour straight-line wind rips the roof right off this shelter. Now it's on the ground. That's on the ground. Reporter: The tornado in moore touched down here and plowed through entire neighborhoods. Take a look at this bowling alley before and after. The tornado's powerful winds lifting this roof rice off. You can see the lanes in the debris. And look at this image, the cruel path of destruction through one neighborhood, some homes destroyed from the vicious winds while homes just outside the path were left standing. And it is shocking, so let me just repeat that again. On its way to an ef-5 rarefied tornado zones, very rare like 0.1% of any tornado will get to that level. It went from an ef-0 to ef-4 in ten minutes.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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