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May 25, 2013 - Strong storms over Oklahoma
Strong storms over Oklahoma Image used for Spacing Purposes
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 5/20/2013
Resolutions: 1km (175.1 KB)
500m (683.2 KB)
250m (1.6 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz
MODIS Land Rapid Response Team,

On May 20, 2013 a strong storm system spawned a devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma. The storm hit the ground at 2:45 CDT (19:45 UTC) in Newcastle and drove northeast, dissipating in Moore at 3:35 p.m. CDT (20:35 UTC).

Just as the tornado began to strike, the Aqua satellite passed overhead, allowing the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying aboard to acquire this stunning true-color image of the storm. This image was acquired at 19:40 UTC (2:45 CDT).

The tornado’s winds were estimated at 200-210 mph at Briarwood Elementary School, near the center of the tornado’s path, earning the storm the highest level of destructiveness on the Enhanced Fujita Scale: EF-5. Initial assessments estimate the cost of the damage will exceed 2 billion dollars, including $45 million in damages to the school system. Two elementary schools were totally destroyed by the twister.

Twenty four lives were lost, including 10 children. At least 350 people were injured. An estimated 13,000 homes were destroyed.

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