May 21, 2013 / 8:31 PM / 6 years ago

Oklahoma tornado upgraded to EF5, highest strength rating

A damaged police car is seen after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

(Reuters) - The tornado that struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday was a rare EF5, the highest rating the National Weather Service assigns in classifying the strength of tornadoes.

An EF5 tornado can pack winds exceeding 200 miles per hour and damage is devastating, the service said.

Damage assessment teams also determined that the huge tornado cut a path of approximately 17 miles by 1.3 miles wide.

EF5 tornadoes are rare in the United States. The twister in Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, 2011, which killed 161 people, was rated an EF5.

Reporting By Greg McCune; Editing by Gary Hill

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