State of Disaster declared in Oklahoma, Death toll expected to climb

POSTED: 5:30 AM May 21 2013   UPDATED: 9:37 AM May 21 2013
MOORE, OKLAHOMA -

 The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office says the official death toll in the aftermath of a massive tornado that slammed the Oklahoma City area remains at 51 but is expected to rise.
 
A spokeswoman tells The Associated Press that officials could see as many as 40 more deaths from the Monday's twister.
 
The tornado tore through parts of suburban Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon, flattening entire neighborhoods with winds up to 200 mph and landing a direct blow on an elementary school in Moore. At least 20 of the confirmed dead are children.

Glenn Lewis was the mayor of Moore, Okla., when the strongest tornado on record whipped the city in 1999, and he says the most recent storm won't deter the community from rebuilding.
    
Monday's storm in the Oklahoma City suburbs left more than four dozen people dead. Lewis said this year's twister was bigger than one that hit in 1999, though its winds were not as strong. A city hospital and numerous businesses were damaged in Monday's twister, which had winds of up to 200 mph. Two elementary schools also were hit.
    
A storm in May 1999 had winds of 302 mph.
    
Lewis said the cleanup has already started - and that city workers were already at work printing new street signs to replace those that blew away.

We will continue to gather the latest on this storm's destruction.