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Oklahoma death toll stands at 24 with 'untold missing'

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Updated: 5/21/2013 3:53 pm
MOORE, Okla. (NBC News) -- Early death tolls in Moore, Oklahoma have been revised downwards as emergency officials get a better picture of the devastation left by Monday's tornado.

At least 24 people have died, and the search for survivors and victims continues.

The scale of destruction is unbelievable, the scope of loss unbearable. Emergency teams in the strike zone are still in rescue and recovery mode.

"We want to make sure that we have absolutely uncovered and looked in every single crevice that there might be for anyone that might have been injured in the tornado itself and in the storm," Governor Mary Fallin said Tuesday morning.

The massive EF-4 tornado packed winds pushing 200 miles an hour, cutting a path a mile wide and almost 20 miles long across central Oklahoma.

Mark and Katrina Ellerd survived the 1999 tornado that leveled much of Moore.

This time almost everything they owned is gone.

"I was able to find pictures. Everything else is pointless," Katrina Ellerd said.

Two elementary schools took direct hits from the twister.

Many students' lives were lost, but others spared.

"One of the boys said to me. I love you. I love you. Please don't die with me," teacher Rhonda Crosswhite said.

-- Jay Gray, NBC News, reports



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