Tornadoes are one of the most destructive forces of nature, capable of leveling entire towns in minutes. While they can occur anywhere in the world, the United States is particularly prone to tornadoes, with an average of over 1,200 tornadoes occurring each year.
Google Earth provides a unique perspective on the devastating impact that tornadoes can have on communities. By using satellite imagery, Google Earth allows us to see the damage paths of tornadoes from above, providing a stark reminder of the power of these storms.
Here is a list of the top 10 tornado damage paths on Google Earth, in no particular order:
- Greensboro, Kansas EF5 Tornado (May 4, 2007)
This tornado was one of the strongest and most destructive ever recorded, with winds estimated at up to 205 mph. It leveled nearly the entire town of Greensburg, Kansas, killing 11 people and injuring over 100 others.
- Moore, Oklahoma EF5 Tornado (May 20, 2013)
This tornado was another EF5 tornado that caused widespread destruction in the Moore, Oklahoma area. It killed 24 people and injured over 200 others.
- El Reno, Oklahoma EF5 Tornado (May 31, 2013)
This tornado was the third EF5 tornado to strike Oklahoma in just a few weeks in 2013. It was one of the widest tornadoes ever recorded, with a width of up to 2.6 miles at one point. The tornado killed five people and injured over 150 others.
- Joplin, Missouri EF5 Tornado (May 22, 2011)
This tornado was one of the deadliest tornadoes in recent history, killing 158 people and injuring over 1,000 others. It leveled much of the city of Joplin, Missouri, causing billions of dollars in damage.
- Tuscaloosa, Alabama EF4 Tornado (April 27, 2011)
This tornado was part of a devastating outbreak of tornadoes that struck the southeastern United States in April 2011. It killed 64 people and injured over 1,500 others. The tornado caused widespread damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and surrounding areas.
- Parkersburg, Iowa EF5 Tornado (May 25, 2008)
This tornado was another EF5 tornado that struck the Midwest in 2008. It killed six people and injured over 100 others. The tornado caused widespread damage in Parkersburg, Iowa, and surrounding areas.
- Hallam, Nebraska EF5 Tornado (May 22, 2004)
This tornado was one of the deadliest tornadoes in recent Nebraska history, killing 18 people and injuring over 50 others. It leveled much of the town of Hallam, Nebraska, causing billions of dollars in damage.
- Mayfield, Kentucky EF4 Tornado (December 10, 2021)
This tornado was part of a devastating outbreak of tornadoes that struck the central United States in December 2021. It killed 57 people and injured over 250 others. The tornado caused widespread damage in Mayfield, Kentucky, and surrounding areas.
- Smithville, Mississippi EF4 Tornado (April 27, 2011)
This tornado was part of the same outbreak as the Tuscaloosa tornado. It killed 16 people and injured over 200 others. The tornado caused widespread damage in Smithville, Mississippi, and surrounding areas.
- Jarrell, Texas EF5 Tornado (May 27, 1997)
This tornado was one of the deadliest tornadoes in recent Texas history, killing 27 people and injuring over 250 others. It leveled much of the town of Jarrell, Texas, causing billions of dollars in damage.
How to prepare for a tornado
The best way to survive a tornado is to be prepared. Here are some tips:
- Have a tornado plan in place and know where to go for shelter in case a tornado warning is issued.
- Build or designate a tornado shelter in your home. This could be a basement, interior room without windows, or a storm cellar.
- Have a tornado emergency kit that includes food, water, first-aid supplies, and a battery-operated radio.
- Stay informed about the weather and monitor local forecasts for tornado warnings.
If you are caught in a tornado, the most important thing to do is to find shelter immediately. If you are in a car, pull over to the side of the road and lie down in a ditch. If you are in a building without a basement, go to an interior room without windows.
These are just a few of the many devastating tornadoes that have struck the United States in recent years.Tornadoes can be unpredictable and destructive, so it is important to be prepared and have a plan in place in case a tornado warning is issued.
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