NASA satellite data assist in tornado damage assessments



During the period of 25–28 April 2011, the southeastern United States was raked by several episodes of severe weather. Numerous tornadoes caused extensive damage and, tragically, the deaths of more than 300 people. Meteorologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) performed extensive surveys to assess the intensity, duration, and ground track of tornadoes reported during the event. Survey activities included visits to the affected locations, analysis of radar data, aerial surveys, and interviews with eyewitnesses.


The authors are grateful to meteorologists of NWS forecast offices in Huntsville and Birmingham, Ala., for their comments and assistance in the analysis. MODIS data used here were received via direct broadcast and are also distributed by the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center, located at the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Center. Radar reflectivity products were provided by the National Climatic Data Center.