Oklahoma tornado destroyed 12,000 homes, President Obama to visit

As many as 13,000 homes were destroyed by the EF-5 tornado. Photo: Associated Press

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett says 12,000 to 13,000 homes were affected by the tornado that tore through a city suburb.

At least 24 people died when the tornado laid waste to Moore on Monday afternoon. It was learned Wednesday that two infants were among the dead.

Twenty-four people are still unaccounted for.

The White House announced that President Barack Obama will travel to tornado-ravaged Moore.

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.

The Oklahoma Insurance Department says the financial cost of the tornado could exceed $2 billion, because of the size and duration of the storm. The disaster zone stretches more than 17 miles and the tornado was on the ground for 40 minutes.

An aerial view of the site shows whole neighborhoods obliterated, with gouged earth littered with splintered wood and pulverized cars.

The National Weather Service says the tornado was a top-of-the-scale EF5 twister with winds of at least 200 mph - the first EF5 tornado of 2013.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.