Sunday, May 1, 2011

Aerial Footage of Tuscaloosa Tornado Damage of 4-27-11

The video below was taken by the ABC affiliate in the Tuscaloosa area.  It shows aerial footage of the tornado damage in and near Tuscaloosa.  I believe it shows several areas of EF-4 damage.

Below the video I have posted several screen shots with specific items of interest that I would like to point out.  Those items are circled on the images (click to enlarge) and I've added text notations to explain what I think I'm seeing.  I've put the corresponding time on the video below each screenshot for your reference.

Approximate time into video 1:04

Approximate time into video 1:53

 Approximate time into video 2:39

 Approximate time into video 3:17

 Approximate time into video 4:32

 Approximate time into video 4:46

 Approximate time into video 4:54

 Approximate time into video 5:42

 Approximate time into video 6:30

Approximate time into video 8:36

There are many other notations I would have made throughout the video, but you simply can't tell what was there to begin with, in order to make any conclusions.  That alone should tell you the level of devastation that these poor folks are dealing with.  Please keep them in your prayers and make a contribution to the Red Cross (or another reputable charity), if you'd like to help.

There is additional aerial video capturing damage in heavily wooded and rural areas further to the Northeast.  Check back later as I'll be posting some information on that footage as well.

The image below is a mosaic of several aerial images taken by one of the NOAA planes conducting the official survey of the damage in Tuscaloosa.  You can clearly see the huge swath of damage from left to right across the image:

You can click the image to enlarge it a bit, but for even better viewing (and enlargement) go to the primary link here.

An additional post on the Tuscaloosa area tornado (including videos and still shots of the tornado itself) is here.  A post specifically dealing with radar data associated with the storm is here.


The Planet Pink said...

In that last screen shot, is the FOUNDATION missing?? Is that even possible?!

Shamrock said...

Planet Pink-Unfortunately it is possible. We were hit by a possible EF1/EF2..they're still surveying damage-but, this tornado was much smaller than Tuscaloosa-and it uprooted and snapped HUGE maples in half. It peeled back roofs, picked up and threw a mobile home across the road....if a "weaker" tornado can do that then it isn't hard to imagine an EF5 doing what it did. Those poor people. My heart and prayers go out to them...

Rob In Texas said...

Planet Pink, thanks for the comment.

Like Shamrock said, yes, it is possible, but extremely rare (probably only occurs with the most violent of all tornadoes - less than 1% of the time). In fact, entire sections of roadways have reportedly been removed by one or more of the tornadoes that took place last Wednesday.

The more I look at this particular part of the Tuscaloosa video, however, the more I'm thinking that there may in fact not have been anything on that particular pad behind the driveway in question (on the last screen shot that you pointed out).

The more I look at it, the more I see grass/weeds instead of just plain old dirt or sand in that spot. If something substantial had been on top of it, you wouldn't expect to see so much "green" underneath it.

The Planet Pink said...

Gotcha. Wow. Even if that wasn't the case in this screenshot, still that's crazy. Would you speculate it's the high winds that can rip up asphalt and foundations (getting in the cracks) or is it more debris traveling at high speeds that rips it up?

Rob In Texas said...

Planet Pink, it is likely the suction and/or winds associated with the tornado itself. Part of a roadway was removed near Smithville, MS in the tornado (which was rated EF-5) that took place there on this past Wednesday.

I have seen cases like this in the past as well, but only with the very strongest (top 1 or 2%) of all tornadoes (which is obviously what we were dealing with last week for sure).