Twin tornadoes near Pilger, Nebraska, June 16, 2014 (YouTube/Brett Roberts)

The pair of violent tornadoes that ripped through Pilger, Nebraska June 16 did more than loft a house into the air and damage half the town. The twisters left a mark on the terrain visible 443 miles above the Earth from space.

NASA’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument aboard its Terra satellite attained the image below (from June 21, 2014) revealing the paths of the destructive tornado tandem.


The tracks are apparent from the tan-shaded swaths labeled in the above image.

NASA also made available a view of the terrain prior to the twister from July 4, 2013.

Below, I’ve created an animation of the before and after view, so you can appreciate the radical footprint of these beastly vortices, rated 4 on the 0-5 Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale for packing estimated winds of 166-200 mph.

(NASA, adapted by CWG)

Here’s a ground (damage)-based reconstruction of the track (from the National Weather Service) which is a good match of the version from satellite imagery:

(National Weather Service)