Massive Tornado Devastates Oklahoma City Area, Dozens Killed

Elementary schools, homes and hospitals were destroyed in the monster twister's wake.
7:42 | 05/20/13

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Transcript for Massive Tornado Devastates Oklahoma City Area, Dozens Killed
It was another day of whaling storm sirens just south of Oklahoma City this afternoon another round of tornado drills in schools where duck and cover is ritual. But there was nothing routine about this twister one so big. It erased entire sections of the city of more like an atmosphere chain -- ripped apart a number of crowded schools and pushed. The death -- to the highest point. In this town stormy history. For perspective this is video shot by a resident named Jason -- -- As the massive funnel cloud dark wood debris approach not take note of his house there and those trees as Jason heads underground. For too loud and what must have been very tense hours and then imagine. A merging. Into a whole new reality. House. Trees. Go lawn neighborhood. Gone. Lord give -- the lord take -- they could go down as one of the deadliest tornadoes in American history and ABC's ginger zee is there. Outside Oklahoma City amid all of the shock all of the searching all of the hope and -- At 2:40 PM local time the first tornado warning went out -- And just sixteen minutes later the darkening skies over Oklahoma turned deadly. -- he's turning with winds up to 200 miles per hour when it. But the tornado that poured down in the suburbs of Oklahoma City today it was a monster. Just massive tornado here. You're seeing from Bob mills -- -- -- we got power -- is its and a heavily -- in a heavily populated area right now here in look at the look at the turning motion. -- all there's a huge splash. -- there is it is just rip it up everything in its past. Preliminary rating ES floor by the National Weather Service. The tornado tore -- twelve mile long gash in the earth from New Castle to more. It is -- Yeah I cannot read right now and -- -- Don't know I don't. Don't network crossed I 35 their cars there there that are -- -- -- here please early oh my gosh. Oh my -- I -- -- people lived and Allen honestly did not know people lived in man. Hundreds of homes and buildings have been obliterated. Frantic groups of rescuers could be seen digging through debris within minutes of the tornado's passing by we -- Going also walls -- for people. There are people crawling -- from everywhere and anywhere. Basically just a war -- out -- storm -- and then. We heard of Evelyn need help we came in then -- pulled up over here. And over the area at the 7-Eleven trying to pool cooler doors off and everything and they got there a record check in. And sadly -- found. A man and then a woman in a small -- More than fifty people are reported dead. Among them children from the plaza towers elementary school one of two schools filled with students that link directly in the tornado's path. There have been some. Casualties. I do not have. Lieutenant governor Todd -- spoke with bill -- earlier tonight. One school where is just flattened -- quite frankly the walls were pancake absolutely flattened. And students were grouped together that's why some reports -- -- so far that. They were killed your mother crescent blows or by by drowning because there are together in the water came in -- couldn't get out. Photos captured the dramatic rescue in the rubble at the plaza towers elementary school. But tonight dozens of first responders continue dancers. Those families -- don't know the Santas and their love lives in particular that children they had in the -- second and hit. Areas Avery reunification center set -- at saint Andrew insurance at a 119. And south many. And our prayers are -- -- -- We're working as quickly as we can -- try to get through that debris into turning answers and questions about where loved ones are. Students have remained at the schools despite the tornado warnings because there were safe areas where they could be protected. -- -- Cost of building and down we were told to get our tornado precautions -- None of the -- to the back to the rising doesn't matter I. Anything that yeah so -- cracking -- -- school I can begin to describe him out of the terror that you know I was feeling of the. Robert Raymond son was at Breyer would elementary when the tornado hit. Only after -- would you concede that it had been. I was at my son. -- was OK. -- what parents were reunited with their children at an unsigned pick up place. First -- -- -- was waiting right there when his mom -- -- soda. She was overcome with relief to find out that her son was taken down. And so grateful for the school of certain protected him. Gabriel Ryan Wheeler and he's my -- We just got reunited so he's okay that he was strictly in the tornado so this teacher was right next to him. Andrew Wheeler also credits Breyer with teacher with keeping his son -- It's teacher held -- hands. Everything we're all -- all the kids. She got -- -- injured one of the other boys on her other side got a big gash in his head but he is okay. And two years he was the last one to be reunited with the family members so we've got -- Gabriel wheelers faith. ABC news contributing correspondent Mike Boettcher who lives in Oklahoma. Was at the scene nearby Breyer would elementary. The good news now is. Students in this school and it told associated with the school tell us that no children died. That tornado. Passed right over -- school. We were left no -- -- it when it hit preschool and you could -- explosion debris what could hit that large bone structure. Outside Breyer would elementary school I ran a crush our day it still trying to find her niece -- When the tornado came fairly -- found out. It -- the school. Sorry -- this gentleman on the news on the alert and active -- Sears. And that counts. On the same -- -- -- thank -- It's -- this is still -- -- Ross situation you can see right behind me we've got the search and rescue does funny and firefighters and just. Complete and utter devastation helping with the search and rescue. Eighty National Guard members deployed but Oklahoma governor Mary Fallon. There's nothing stand. -- -- --

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

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