Satellite reveals Oklahoma tornado's destruction

By Paul Harper

The path of the tornado is seen as a beige line across Moore. Photo/NASA
The path of the tornado is seen as a beige line across Moore. Photo/NASA

The path of last month's devastating tornado through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore is revealed as a scar across the city in a NASA satellite image.

The infrared light image, taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer on NASA's Terra satellite on June 2, shows the course of the deadly tornado as it cut its way across the US city on May 20.

The EF-5 tornado - the strongest possible - killed 24 people and caused more than US$2billion (NZ$2.55billion) in damage.

In the NASA image, infrared, red, and green wavelengths of light have been combined to better distinguish between water, vegetation, bare ground, and human developments. Water appears blue, buildings and paved surfaces are blue-grey and vegetation appears red.

The track of the tornado can be seen as a beige stripe running west to east across the image.

According to the US National Weather Service, the tornado was on the ground for 39 minutes, ripping across 27 kilometre from 7km west of Newcastle to 7.7km east of Moore, Oklahoma.

At its peak, the funnel cloud was 2.1km-wide and wind speeds reached 340kmh.


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