Tornado Hits La Plata, Maryland
Image courtesy NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team.
This pair of images from the Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) shows the strip of flattened and possibly denuded vegetation left by the F4 tornado (winds from 207 to 260 miles per hour, causing “devastating damage”) that struck La Plata, Maryland on April 28, 2002. The top image uses near-infrared data from May 1, 2002, and April 28, 2001. The 2002 data are used in the blue and green channels of the image, while the 2001 data are used in the red channel. Areas that were more reflective in the near-infrared in 2001 than 2002 appear bright red. This includes the path of the tornado, which knocked down vegetation. The flattened vegetation is darker in near-infrared wavelengths than untouched vegetation, so the bright 2001 data cause the tornado’s path to appear red. The bottom image is a true-color (red, green, and blue) image from May 1, 2002. The path of the tornado is very hard to see in visible light wavelengths at this scale.
This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.