Last updated: August 24. 2013 10:52AM - 99 Views

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The Lima News

Thank goodness the Red Cross was already mobilized near Oklahoma City when a second round of tornadoes struck the city with a magnitude that surprised even the most ardent storm watchers.

Monday afternoon’s monstrous tornado cleared out a path more than two miles wide as it reached speeds of 200 mph. It raced through Oklahoma City suburbs, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.

As of late Monday afternoon, six were confirmed dead.

To understand the unusual, enormous size of Monday’s tornado consider this:

• Its two-mile path was the equivalent of 35 football fields.

• One-mile wide is the benchmark for a really bad tornado.

• A median tornado path length, taking account all tornadoes, is less than 1 mile.

The Red Cross set up relief efforts late Sunday in Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois and Iowa after as many as 26 tornadoes were reported over the weekend. The hardest hit was Oklahoma, where tornadoes ripped through several counties, destroying or damaging hundreds of homes and leaving as many as 35,000 people without power.

You can assist the Red Cross in helping tornado victims by going on its Web site — redcross.org — and making a donation. Donors can also visit the local Red Cross on South Collett Street, just south of the Bradfield Center. Donations can be earmarked for the donor’s special cause.

The National Weather Service warns that the threat of severe weather continues today for millions of people in communities from Texas to the Great Lakes and stretching as far as the Gulf Coast and Northeast by Wednesday.

“These are dangerous storms and we urge people to monitor the situation closely and be alert for severe weather warnings in their community,” said Trevor Riggen, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property and people should be prepared to go immediately underground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).”

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