Before and after the storm: Satellite pictures show extent of US tornado destruction

US

The extent of the destruction caused by a series of tornadoes that may have killed up to 100 people in the US has been laid bare by satellite images.

Dozens have been confirmed dead across five states and many more are missing after the storms, which included one twister that could have carved the longest track on record.

Along the 250-mile (400km) path it scored across the landscape, homes, factories, warehouses and civic buildings were flattened and often obliterated.

Among the buildings wrecked by the tornadoes was an Amazon distribution centre in Illinois, where six people died when a wall collapsed and the roof caved in.

The pictures below, provided by Maxar Technologies, shows the satellite views before and after the storms struck. Use the slider in the middle to switch between the photos.

Many people were said to be trapped after the roof of the Amazon warehouse near St Louis was ripped off late on Friday.

People at the facility were taken by helicopter to hospitals in St Louis, after a wall about the length of a football field also collapsed.

The picture below, in close up, shows the same ‘after’ view of the building in Edwardsville, southern Illinois, where rescue workers were picking through a huge area of debris.

A close up satellite view of the Amazon warehouse in Illinois that a tornado carved a gash in the roof. Pic: Maxar Technologies
Image:
A close up satellite view of the Amazon warehouse in Illinois that a tornado carved a gash in the roof. Pic: Maxar Technologies

Twisted metal sheeting

In Mayfield, western Kentucky, twisted metal sheeting, downed power lines and wrecked vehicles lined the streets.

Among the buildings that was badly damaged was the courthouse, the proud tower of which was bludgeoned over by the intense wind.

The pictures below show the satellite view before and after, with the after picture showing a shadow that is now much shorter because the tower is missing.

The wider scene of downtown Mayfield shows the degree of destruction left after the tornado tore through the city of around 10,000 people.

House after house and factory after factory lies pulverised, a pile of debris where someone once lived or worked.

Almost every home destroyed

In one neighbourhood of Mayfield, a closer view shows how almost every home was destroyed.

Even the buildings that are still standing had their windows and roofs blown off.

Among the buildings flattened, was a candle factory where 110 people were working overnight on Friday when the storm hit.

Just 40 of them have been rescued so far. Kentucky State Trooper Sarah Burgess said rescue crews were using heavy equipment to move rubble.

Bodies have been recovered, she added, but she didn’t know how many.

The images below show the satellite views of the candle factory, and neighbouring buildings, before and after.

Trapped in a nursing home

In Arkansas, a tornado rolled over the community of Monette, where at least one person was killed, and 20 were trapped inside at a nursing home.

Five people suffered serious injuries, and a few others had minor ones, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day said.

At least one other person died in Arkansas. The image below is a closer up image of the nursing home.

Farm buildings in Monette were also destroyed and the community was counting the cost of the destruction as residents emerged from their storm shelters on Saturday morning.

Monette was just one of many communities across a swathe of the United States to be hit by the storms. The images below show some of the farm buildings before and after.

The map below shows the locations of some of the places known to have been affected.

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