Astonishing Hi-Resolution Satellite Views of the Destruction from the Moore, Oklahoma Tornado

by Nancy Atkinson on May 23, 2013

Sceenshot of a satellite view from Google/Digital Globe of the destruction in Moore, Oklahoma after the May 20, 2013 tornado. Click image to have access to an interactive, zoomable version via NPR.

Sceenshot of a satellite view from Google/Digital Globe of the destruction in Moore, Oklahoma after the May 20, 2013 tornado. Click image to have access to an interactive, zoomable version via NPR.

A new satellite map from Google and Digital Globe shows just-released satellite imagery of the damage from the tornado that struck the area of Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013. It’s been called one of the most powerful and destructive tornadoes ever recorded — determined to be an EF5 tornado, the strongest rating for a tornado — and the destruction is heartbreaking. In the screenshot above, you can see how some houses were left undamaged, while others were completely destroyed.

Click on the image above to have access to an interactive map that shows hi-resolution views of the damage, providing details of where the buildings and houses once were. NPR put this map together, using satellite data from Digital Globe, along with property data from City of Oklahoma City, City of Moore, and Cleveland County. Satellite data like this are helping to assist the recovery and rescue teams on the ground.

In the immediate aftermath of a natural catastrophe such as this tornado, the priority is searching for survivors and saving lives.

But longer term recovery — including the rebuilding of infrastructure and amenities such as schools and hospitals — can take decades, and satellite imagery can provide a systematic approach to aiding, monitoring and evaluating this process.

Satellite view of the destructive tornado that passed just south of Oklahoma City. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image of the storm at 2:40 p.m. local time (19:40 UTC) on May 20, 2013. Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.

Satellite view of the destructive tornado that passed just south of Oklahoma City. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image of the storm at 2:40 p.m. local time (19:40 UTC) on May 20, 2013. Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.

See more satellite views from NASA of the storm and aftermath on NASA Goddard’s Flickr page for this tornado.

The Take Part website has a list of organizations that are providing support for the recovery and care of the people affected, if you would like to contribute.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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