CNN's Gary Tuchman takes a look at a metal storm shelter in Moore that survived the deadly Oklahoma tornado while the house above it was completely destroyed. At least 24 people, including nine children, died in the region after the winds, peaking around 200 miles per hour, pummeled the town.
The sliding door of the shelter reveals a small space that could hold a few family members and a limited amount of belongings for a short period of time. In this particular shelter, there are materials inside although the owners didn't use it on Monday because they left the area.
It took six people to pull Barbara Jarrell from the wreckage of her house after the tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma on Monday. She believes the rafters pinning her to the ground was fortunate because it prevented her from getting sucked out of her home by the powerful winds.
"The glasses all start breaking, popping out. My ears started popping. I felt the suction ... I heard my house just flying apart," she says. She survived the storm, but immediately after panic set in because no one could hear Jarrell screaming for help.
Even the sound of a bullhorn app on her phone couldn't be heard above the rubble. She was able to call her brother but service was going in and out.
Janice Brim heeded her husband's advice and found a safe place to protect her students at Plaza Towers Elementary during the Oklahoma tornado. Mark Brim, who works in construction, had warned that a hallway would not be adequate.
Immediately after the storm hit, Mark raced to his wife's school. When he saw the destruction, he feared the worst. He remembers thinking, "There's no way that anybody could walk away from this."
Tragically, there were fatalities in the school, but Janice and the five children who were with her survived. "I told the kids 'We may get rained on if it lifts the roof off. We are hanging tight. We're going to stay strong right here,'" she tells Anderson Cooper. The couple believes seeking shelter in the closet was a lifesaving decision.
Janae Hornsby didn't survive the deadly tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on Monday. Her family remembers her as a sweet, fun and unique child. Janae's father is praying it's a mistake; he says he hasn't yet accepted the painful reality that his daughter isn't coming back.
Anderson Cooper talks with teacher Waynel Mayes about what it was like in her classroom when the tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma on Monday. Plaza Towers Elementary School was destroyed as winds that peaked around 200 mph caused widespread damage in the town.
Mayes gave instruments to her students and told them to play loudly and sing "Jesus Loves Me" as a way to drown out the frightening sounds of the storm passing through. "I said, 'When you get scared, you can scream, but keep playing, keep playing, keep playing. And we did it," she says.
The school had practiced emergency safety procedures, and Mayes says it helped that the students listened to directions when the disaster hit. Residents pulled her and the children from the rubble into a chaotic scene as parents frantically searched for their loved ones.
A day after a twister 1.3 miles wide ravaged the city of Moore, Oklahoma, the scope of the damage is evident. At least 24 people died, including nine children. Some of the youngest victims who lost their lives were in Plaza Towers Elementary School, which collapsed in the storm.
The estimated peak wind was about 200 mph, which would put the tornado in the most powerful category, an EF5, according to the National Weather Service. Today more than 40,000 customers are still without power, a utility spokesman said
This afternoon Anderson Cooper was standing in front of twisted metal and layers of debris. The bowling alley would have been completely unrecognizable except for the bowling balls scattered in the wreckage. That scene is replicated throughout the town – pile after pile of crumbled buildings and homes.
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