Tornado Track from Space

July 05, 2001


Provided by: Environmental Remote Sensing Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USGS
Summary authors & editors: Martin Ruzek; Environmental Remote Sensing Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

At 8:06 pm on June 18th, 2001, an F3 tornado touched down 2 miles East-Northeast of Grantsburg, Wisconsin. The tornado continued east through the towns of Alpha, Falun, and eventually Siren at around 8:20. The most extensive damage was in a 6 block wide area in Siren, where numerous homes were leveled. The average width of the tornado was 1/8 to 1/4 mile, with the widest width being about a half mile. Three people were killed.

These Landsat satellite images show the region before and after the tornado. The lower image shows a comparative statistical analysis of the change in land reflectance between the two satellite images and the change in land conditions associated with the tornado. The bright path of greatest destruction shows a change in land reflectance and can be seen running roughly parallel to Highway 70, from just east of Alpha to the eastern edge of the image, just southwest of Spooner, Wis.

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