NASA releases image that shows path, destruction of Moore, Okla. tornado

National/World News

Moore tornado. CINN iReporter Kevin Dunham. May 20, 2013

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NASA image taken June 2, 2013 shows Moore, Okla. tornado path.
NASA image taken June 2, 2013 shows Moore, Okla. tornado path.

NASA released a remarkable picture of the trail left by the May 20 tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma. See a larger version of the image here.

The National Weather service says the tornado was an EF-5, the most severe on the enhanced Fujita scale.

The twister killed at least 24 people, injured 377, and affected nearly 33,000 people in the suburban Oklahoma City community.

Estimates suggest that more then $2 billion in damage was done to public and private property; at least 13,000 structures were destroyed or damaged. It was the deadliest tornado in the United States since an EF-5 event killed 158 people in Joplin, Missouri, in 2011.

On June 2, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite observed the scar of that tornado on the Oklahoma landscape.

It’s a false-color image. Experts combined infrared, red, and green wavelengths of light  to better distinguish between water, vegetation, bare ground, and human developments.

Water is blue. Buildings and paved surfaces are blue-gray. Vegetation is red. The tornado track is clear in the center of the photo. It appears as a beige stripe running west to east across the image; the color reveals the lack of vegetation in the wake of the storm.

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado was on the ground for 39 minutes, ripping across 17 miles from 4.4 miles west of Newcastle to 4.8 miles east of Moore, Oklahoma. At its peak, the funnel cloud was 1.3 miles wide and wind speeds reached 210 miles per hour.

Oklahoma was hit by another outbreak of deadly, destructive tornadoes on May 31. Those tornadoes killed at least 20 people including two storm chasers from Colorado and their colleague.

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