Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Satellite Photos of Damage in Joplin


The above are satellite photos taken over Joplin.  The right half of the image shows what it looked like before the tornado this past Sunday, and the left image shows the same area afterward.

As you can see, there is a large brown swath of significant damage running from the lower right to the upper left corner of the "after" image. 

I'm struggling a bit with the grey "blotches" on the upper half of the "after" image.  I can't tell if those are passing clouds at the time the photo was taken, or if they are suction vortex spots.  A suction vortex is (as the name implies) an embedded vortex within the body of the main tornado that literally sucks everything up like a vacuum cleaner.  The ground can literally be stripped right down to the dirt, even beneath concrete.  There were no doubt suction vorticies in the Joplin tornado (based on other damage photos and video that I've seen), but I want to examine this and a few other photos taken by the same satellite on my better computer at home before drawing any final conclusions.  I am also going to try to match this photo up with some areal damage video that I've just received as well.

I'll post the other photos and areal video after I've been able to take a better look at them.

For more information on the Joplin tornado, please see my original post here (which is being updated as new information comes forward or is reviewed).


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

My guess is that grey spots is smoke from fires

Rob In Texas said...

Anonymous, I thought of that too, but it should be moving to one direction or another, it would not be able to go straight up that far without being redirected by winds above the surface level....

Stay tuned, I hope to get to the other photos & video in the next day or two...

Anthill_Goddess said...

My original thought was a couple low clouds that happened to be in the shot...but the more I look at it the less sure of that I am. Will be interested in what you find!

The Planet Pink said...

Theweatherchannel.com has before/after pics of Joplin and the very first is the same area as what you've posted, just a different orientation. Judging by the baseball diamond, I don't see those gray spots in the twc.com after picture. Take a look and tell me what you think.

Shamrock said...

Rob-I am curious if you saw the raw footage of the 20 people that holed up in a walk in freezer inside a convienence store when the Joplin tornado struck.....

Rob In Texas said...

Planet Pink, from the other photos & videos I'm seeing, I agree that it was probably a cloud. That's just unusual because they usually wait until the image is totally clear when taking those expensive satellite photos. I guess somebody dropped the ball on that one!

Anyway, I've been so busy trying to get ready to head out tomorrow I haven't had time to make any updated posts with the other photos and video. I plan to do that tomorrow on the long, long drive up to the central & northern High Plains...

Rob In Texas said...

Shamrock, I've heard the story, but I did not see a video yet...

Thank goodness they sought shelter. Those large industrial freezers are excellent shelters in what otherwise is a "deathtrap" in a large retail store situation.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your big trip Rob. Hope you guys find the Motherload of weather makers. Be safe and have a blast. Not much wind here today for a change. The Col.