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Crews Dig Through Night After Deadly Oklahoma Twister [PHOTOS]

MOORE, Okla. (AP) – Rescue crews are working through the night after a monstrous tornado barreled through the Oklahoma City suburbs, demolishing an elementary school and reducing homes to piles of splintered wood.

The state medical examiner’s office has revised the death toll from a tornado in an Oklahoma City suburb to 24 people, including seven children. Spokeswoman Amy Elliot said Tuesday morning that she believes some victims were counted twice in the early chaos of the storm. Authorities said initially that as many as 51 people were dead, including 20 children.

The center of the devastation is in Moore, a community of 41,000 people 10 miles south of Oklahoma City.

More than 120 people were being treated at hospitals, including about 50 children. Amy Elliott, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office, said Tuesday that there could be as many as 40 more fatalities from Monday’s tornado.

Parents and guardians of children whose elementary schools were damaged in the deadly tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City area are hoping for happy reunions.

Many parents seeking their children gathered at a suburban church, listening intently as someone with a bullhorn called out the names of children who were being dropped off. For many families, the ordeal ended in tears of joy. Others were left to wait in the darkness, hoping for good news while fearing the worst.

President Barack Obama will be meeting with his disaster response team, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, on Tuesday before delivering a statement on the devastating tornado that tore through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday.

Obama has declared a major disaster in Oklahoma, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. The president also spoke Monday with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Rep. Tom Cole, whose home is in the heavily damaged town of Moore.

The White House says Obama told Cole that the American people stand behind Oklahomans as they recover from the disaster.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate is heading to Oklahoma on Tuesday to ensure that federal resources are being properly deployed.

How You Can Help Victims of the Tornado in Oklahoma

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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