Okla. tornado home damage estimated from photos

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MOORE, Okla. (AP) - Officials in Oklahoma City say an estimate of the number of homes damaged or destroyed by this week's tornado is based in part on an analysis of before-and-after aerial photos.

The city's Police Department and the mayor's office have both released estimates that put the number of homes affected in Oklahoma City and its southern suburb of Moore at about 12,000.

Explaining the methodology, Mayor Mick Cornett's office said the city planning department overlaid photos taken from the air before and after the storm. The mayor's chief of staff, Steve Hill, said Thursday that officials comparing the sets of images estimated that 12,600 homes were in or close enough to the twister's path to be affected.

The city and the police also say about 33,000 people are thought to have been affected. The number left homeless is unknown because most are believed to have been taken in by relatives and barely two dozen have stayed overnight at Red Cross shelters.

Monday's tornado, which killed 24 people, was a top-of-the-scale EF-5 that was on the ground for 40 minutes and 17 miles, according to the National Weather Service. It packed winds of up to 210 mph.

Michelann Ooten, deputy director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, said Thursday her office was still working to compile an estimate of the number of destroyed or damaged houses.

Estimates of the monetary damage so far were around $2 billion.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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