MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Moore, Okla., was a top-of-the-scale EF-5 twister with winds of at least 200 mph.
Spokeswoman Keli Pirtle said Tuesday the agency upgraded the tornado from an EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale to an EF-5 based on what a damage assessment team saw on the ground. The weather service uses the word "incredible" to describe the power of EF-5 storms.
The weather service says the tornado's path was 17 miles long and 1.3 miles wide.
Pirtle says Monday's twister is the first EF-5 tornado of 2013.
Wind, humidity and rainfall combined precisely to create the massive killer tornado in Moore, Okla. And when they did, the awesome amount of energy released over that city dwarfed the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima.
Meteorologists contacted by The Associated Press used real time measurements to calculate the energy released during the storm's life span of almost an hour. Their estimates ranged from 8 times to more than 600 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb.
Scientists know the key ingredients that go into a devastating tornado. But they are struggling to figure out why they develop in some big storms and not others. They also are still trying to determine what effects, if any, global warming has on tornadoes.
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.
Teams are continuing to search the rubble in Moore, 10 miles south of Oklahoma City, after the Monday afternoon tornado.
Hospital officials say they've treated hundreds of patients, including dozens of children, since a tornado hit an Oklahoma City suburb.
About 60 patients remained hospitalized Tuesday following Monday's tornado.
Norman Regional Hospital spokeswoman Melissa Herron says 20 of the more than 100 patients her hospital treated remain hospitalized.
Spokeswoman Brooke Cayot says about 20 of the 90 patients seen at Integris Southwest Medical Center also remain in the hospital.
OU Medical Center spokesman Scott Coppenbarger says his hospital has treated 93 people, including 59 children. Twenty remained hospitalized Tuesday, including four adults who were treated after Sunday's storms.
St. Anthony Hospital spokeswoman Sandra Payne says her hospital and affiliated facilities have seen 36 patients, including 14 children. Three children were transferred elsewhere. All other patients there were being released.