Mammoth Twister! Okla. Tornado Widest on Record

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Experts say the EF5 tornado that tore through Oklahoma last week, packing 300 mph winds, was the widest ever recorded, coming in at 2.6 miles.

"A 2.6-mile-wide tornado would not look like a tornado to a lot of people," Rick Smith, chief warning coordination meteorologist for the weather service's office in Norman, Okla., explained. Instead, it would look more like a dark cloud hanging below the horizon. 

Now the Oklahoma medical examiner's office says the death toll from that tornado, originally rated as an EF3, has risen to 19. It was the second EF5 in less than two weeks -- the first on May 20 -- to strike the Oklahoma City area.

Still, the twister touched down in a mostly rural area between El Reno and Union City, killing several motorists on Interstate 40.

Smith said, "Any house would have been completely swept clean on the foundation."

William Hooke, a senior policy fellow at the American Meteorological Society, said Oklahoma City residents "dodged a bullet."

"You lay that path over Oklahoma City, and you have devastation of biblical proportions," Hooke said.

Meanwhile, CBN's Operation Blessing is still on the ground in Moore, Okla.

Over the past two weeks, they've coordinated and sent out more than 2,500 volunteers to help residents recover from a storm that forever changed their lives.

These volunteer teams support residents through a combination of hard work and prayer.

***For more information on how you can help visit the Operation Blessing website.

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