The deadly tornado that ripped through the midwestern state of Oklahoma on Monday left entire neighborhoods flattened, homes, businesses and schools destroyed. As emergency workers sift through the wreckage Tuesday, survivors are sharing their experiences.
Among the countless buildings struck by the three-kilometer-wide tornado were two elementary schools - hit just as students were about to be released for the day.
Sherry Biddle, a teacher at Briarwood Elementary School, described how she helped her students protect themselves.
"I had them take their backpacks and put them over their heads, just as another safety precaution, in the center of our room, in the center of our building," she said.
Briarwood third-grade student Caden talked about what he experienced as the tornado passed.
"I was on the ground, and I just, my ears just went WHOOO, and I couldn't hear anything except cracking and kids screaming," he said.
Incredibly, all the students at Briarwood Elementary School have been accounted for. Another school, Plaza Towers, was not so lucky.
As of early Tuesday, police said seven students had died there and at least 24 were missing. In the chaos following the storm, rescuers and parents searched frantically for surviving children.
One emotional parent was able to locate his child. "I'm just happy that I was able to find my son and that my family's okay," he said.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said "hearts are broken'' for parents looking for their children. She deployed the state National Guard and extra police to assist with rescue operations.
A man stands among the wreckage in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013
Storm chaser Brad Mack records the tornado in Oklahoma.
The storm system that generated an F-4 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma is pictured in this May 20, 2013 NASA photo.
John Warner surveys the damage near a friend's mobile home in the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park, destroyed in a tornado, near Shawnee, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
A fire burns in the Tower Plaza Addition following a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
Moore police dig through the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School following a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
This photo provided by KFOR-TV shows homes flattened outside Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
A tornado moves past homes in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
A woman carries her child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
Seven-year-old Katrina Ash holds a doll as she waits in the back of a truck with her grandfather, Michael Bowen, after a tornado ripped through their neighborhood near Dale, Oklahoma, May 19, 2013.