America

Tornado Cam: Satellite Captures Awesome Scope Of Severe Weather

From above, the scope of this week's deadly tornadoes is stunning.

A satellite from NASA's GOES project was recording as Joplin, Mo., was struck on Sunday.

As Joplin Got Hit

A satellite view of Joplin getting hit.

And the NASA GOES project has also done this time lapse look at the storms that rolled over much of the nation's midsection from Monday into today, leaving more death and destruction behind.

The View From Above

As more tornadoes and other severe weather rolled across the nation's midsection from Monday into Wednesday, here's how it looked from space.

More severe storms are already hitting some of the same areas today and the National Weather Service warns that "a major tornado outbreak is forecast later this afternoon into tonight over portions of the mid-Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys."

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog notes that "the first tornado warning wasn't issued until 1948, and virtually all tornadoes from the 1950s and earlier hit with no warning. On average, tornado deaths in the United States decreased from 8 per 1 million people in 1925 to 0.12 per 1 million people in 2000."

He adds that "had this year's tornadoes occurred 50 years ago, I expect the death toll would have exceeded three thousand" because so many fewer people would have gotten adequate warnings.

But, Masters also says, when "violent EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes" hit populated areas, as happened this week, there unfortunately will be deaths no matter how sophisticated the warning sytems are.

(H/T to NPR's Scott Neuman.)

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