By Associated Press 10:40am, May 22, 2013 - Updated 2:15pm, May 22, 2013The Oklahoma Insurance Department says a preliminary damage estimate could top $2 billion for the tornado that hit the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore.
Spokeswoman Calley Herth tells The Associated Press that the early tally is based on visual assessments of an extensive damage zone stretching more than 17 miles and the fact that the tornado was on the ground for 40 minutes.
She says the monetary damage caused by Monday's tornado could be greater than the $2 billion in damage from the 2011 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., which left a smaller, three-mile trail of destruction.
Returning to what's left
Residents of Moore, Okla., who are returning to homes left in pieces by Monday's tornado are finding humor wherever they can.
An 83-year-old grandmother walked with her son and grandsons through what was left of her home. Part of the roof was in the front yard, and the siding from the front of the house was gone.
When a grandson found her keys, Colleen Arvin laughed and said, "Oh thank God. We can get in the house."
Some neighborhoods were left flattened by the twister that stretched some 1.3 miles wide at points.
It was the fourth tornado to hit Moore since 1998.
Monday's twister killed at least 24 people.
Pres. Obama to visit damage
President Obama will travel to tornado-ravaged Moore, Okla., on Sunday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says the president will view the tornado damage first-hand. He also plans to meet with victims and first responders.
7-mile path of destruction
The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday was a top-of-the-scale EF-5 twister with winds of at least 200 mph.
It was on the ground for 40 minutes, cutting a 17-mile-long, 1.3-mile wide path through Moore, flattening neighborhoods and killing at least 24 people.
Moore's fire chief says the search for survivors and the dead is near completion, and he's 98 percent sure there are no more survivors or bodies to recover.
FEMA Chief: Feds won't go `when the cameras leave'
The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says U.S. officials are "going neighborhood to neighborhood" to make sure Oklahoma gets the help it needs.
FEMA's Craig Fugate promises in an interview that officials won't desert Oklahoma, saying "We don't leave here when the cameras leave. We stay here and get the job done." Fugate tells CNN that the agency has enough money to assist the people of Moore, Okla., who were caught in the path of destruction as the nearly 1.3-mile-wide twister struck Monday afternoon. He says officials will work aggressively to help people find temporary housing and says FEMA is working with other officials to get services restored.
The emergency management director arrived in the state Tuesday, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is due there Wednesday.
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