April Texas Tornado Scars Seen From Space on Satellite

Chris Dolce
Published: April 22, 2019

New satellite images show the scars from a pair of tornadoes that hit eastern Texas during an outbreak of severe weather on April 13.

The animation below shows a comparison of NASA satellite imagery from April 9 and April 20 over a small part of eastern Texas between Lufkin and Palestine.

You can see the most prominent tornado scar highlighted by the two arrows on the left. That tornado moved along a 44-mile-long path through Houston County, Cherokee County and Rusk County, killing two people. Damage from the tornado was rated as high as EF3 near the town of Alto.

A smaller, more subtle damage scar from a different tornado is highlighted by a single arrow just to the right of the other tornado. That tornado caused EF1 damage south-southwest of Alto.

Tornado path segments like these are easier to spot on satellite images when they are in a densely forested area. When large amounts of trees are damaged or destroyed by a tornado, the twister's narrow path of destruction easily appears on satellite in stark contrast to the trees that remain.

This is not the first time a tornado's scar has been seen in satellite imagery this spring.

A tornado left its temporary mark on the Earth on March 3 when it traveled nearly 69 miles from Alabama to Georgia. That tornado caused damage as high as EF4 in Lee County, Alabama, were it killed 23 people.

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