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Death Toll Increases to 22 Following Okla. Tornadoes

Associated Press
Published: June 13, 2013

Homes along Pralle Lane and Mary Pat Court were damaged in the storm, Saturday, June 1, 2013 in St. Charles County, Mo. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen)

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Thursday an unidentified child is now considered the 22nd fatality from the May 31 tornadoes and flash floods. The child's cause of death has not been released.

(MORE: El Reno Tornado, As it Happened)

Eight children and 14 adults died when storms swept through the Oklahoma City area on Friday, generating an EF5 tornado and violent flash floods. The tornado was the widest one ever recorded -- 2.6 miles long.

Oklahoma emergency officials have said many of those who died in Oklahoma City were drowning victims who were swept away while taking shelter from the tornado in storm drainage ditches.

A tornado in El Reno was the second EF5 rated tornado in Oklahoma in a matter of a few weeks. The devastating Moore, Okla. on May 20, 2013 also received this top rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Among those killed were storm chaser Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and their colleague Carl Young. The three men were killed in the twister that struck El Reno during Friday's rush hour.

(MORE: Tornado Kills Storm Researchers)

Late Monday, local newspaper The Oklahoman reported the death of a fourth man actively pursuing the same storm. Richard Charles Henderson, 35, sent a photo to his friend George Slay just minutes before the tornado killed him. The newspaper described Henderson, a resident of nearby Hinton, Okla., as an "amateur storm chaser."

Strong storms, including tornadoes, also ripped through the St. Louis region on May 31. The storm caused extensive damage to two aircraft hangars, three outbuildings and a parking lot. Repair costs have not been determined.

On April 22, 2011, a strong tornado hit Lambert, significantly damaging a terminal and knocking out dozens of windows. Total damage was $25 million.


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