MOORE, Okla. (AP) — The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Moore, Okla., was a top-of-the-scale EF-5 twister with winds of at least 200 mph.
Spokeswoman Keli Pirtle said Tuesday the agency upgraded the tornado from an EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale to an EF-5 based on what a damage assessment team saw on the ground. The weather service uses the word "incredible" to describe the power of EF-5 storms.
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The weather service says the tornado's path was 17 miles long and 1.3 miles wide.
Pirtle says Monday's twister is the first EF-5 tornado of 2013.
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma medical examiner's office revised the death toll from a tornado in an Oklahoma City suburb to at least 24 people, including seven children.
Earlier Tuesday morning, there were reports that 91 people were killed in the powerful storm. It was reported that at least 20 of those were children. Now, the medical examiner's office says seven of the victims were children and at least 17 others had died.
Spokeswoman Amy Elliot said Tuesday morning that she believes some victims were counted twice in the early chaos of the storm.
Officials said it was on the ground for 40 minutes, traveling across 20 miles.
Teams are continuing to search the rubble in Moore, 10 miles south of Oklahoma City, after the Monday afternoon tornado.
Rescue crews aided by volunteers worked to pull kids and staffers from heaps of debris. A 7-year-old girl was inside her school when the storm hit.
This is the second tornado in the past 14 years to wreak havoc on Moore. Forty-four people were killed on May 3, 1999.
President Barack Obama has declared the area a disaster and ordered federal aid to assist with the recovery efforts.
So far, 80 National Guard members have been deployed to the area.
Officials said the death toll is expected to rise Monday as rescue crews search for survivors.
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