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Editorial: Moore heartache

All too soon, the nation must confront another tragedy.

This time it involves what has been described as a monster tornado — with winds of at least 200 mph — that leveled a significant part of Moore, Okla., including a couple of schools and a hospital. Looking at aerial photographs of the area, the destruction looks like it was part of a war zone that was just hit by multiple bombing runs.

On the ground for 40 minutes, the tornado traveled for 20 miles, leaving a two-mile-wide path of wooden structures turned to splinters and what seems like never-ending debris.

More heart-wrenching is the human toll.

As of Tuesday morning, the number of confirmed dead was 24, though everyone on the ground there were expecting that more deaths would be reported as emergency workers continued their search and rescue mission. This would include children who attended Plaza Towers Elementary School, some of whom — with school personnel — tried to seek refuge from the storm in the building’s basement.

“It’s just a process of going house to house,” Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow told reporters. “These are entire neighborhoods gone — just wiped clean. It’s the worst possible scenario.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of residents of this community of 40,000 that serves as a suburb of Oklahoma City were being treated for injuries in area hospitals since the Moore Medical Center was also damaged in the storm.

“There are empty spaces where there used to be living rooms and bedrooms and classrooms,” President Obama said Tuesday morning, after quickly declaring the area a federal disaster. “In some cases, there will be enormous grief that has to be absorbed. But you will not travel that path alone. Your country will travel it with you.”

Stories about Monday’s disaster reminded people that Moore, residing in the section of the nation that’s been tagged Tornado Alley, has been visited by such a twister before. It was May 3, 1999, when another massive tornado touched down, killing 44 people and leaving similar destruction in its wake.

But whether this is a person’s first experience with a tornado or they have been a witness to its destructive power before, we don’t think anyone could ever get used to the death and destruction unleashed.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people whose lives were suddenly twisted into a wreck early this week.

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