More than 300 people were killed by more than 180 tornadoes in late April, 2011.Â This historic outbreak, like many that came before it, now ranks as the most thoroughly-documented tornado outbreak in United States history. With ever-advancing technology including GPS, high-resolution satellite imagery, and instant communication, such documentation of the outbreak spans far beyond the limits of just one newspaper column or one television account.
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration is preparing comprehensive archive of the April 2011 tornado outbreak. Youâ€™ll find the NOAA site here.Â Along with many facts, the site also contains an image showing tornado tracks color-coded to show where the strongest ones were.Â Yellow is strong; orange stronger and red shows the most severe:
Other imagery has been taken from space to track the impact of the tornado outbreak on the Southeast United States.Â Visible imagery — essentially, high-resolution color photographs — taken from space show the scars left across the ground by the devastating storms.Â Click the image for a larger view:
Additionally, infrared satellite imagery–imagery that detects the temperature of the ground and clouds–also displays the scouring of the ground by the storms:
After recent disasters such as the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and now the 2011 tornado outbreak, Google has created a library of riveting paired photographs that display areas both before and after the storm.Â Here’s a sample: