Google Crisis Map

Aerial images of destruction on a stunning scale.

Since Monday's horrific tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, we've gotten a steady stream of snapshots of the damage left in its wake and the natural disaster that caused it: Here, you can see scenes from the ground, satellite imagery of the storm as it passed overhead, and after-the-fact maps of the tornado's precise trail south of Oklahoma City.

But the above image caught our breath in an entirely different way. This aerial imagery, taken mid-week, is now included in the Google Crisis Map for the disaster. The images reveal the path of the tornado as an eraser rubbed over the landscape, leveling homes into a monochromatic trail of rubble. Only the street grid remains intact.

Google Crisis Map

Zoom in far enough, and you can see the neatly parked cars of the residents who've returned to inspect what's left. From above, and seen at mid-week, their vehicles look oddly out of place parked in front of homes that no longer exist:

Google's Crisis Map also lets you toggle between aerial imagery taken of the town on April 29th, and again this week. Here is the same neighborhood seen above prior to the tornado:

Aerial imagery always has a way of portraying scale that can't be captured at street level, although the story shown here is a less intimate one. You can fly over the rest of the damage here:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    A Horrifying Glimpse Into Your Dystopian Future Transit Commute

    A comic artist’s take on what the future of transportation might really feel like.

  2. A cyclist rides on the bike lane in the Mid Market neighborhood during Bike to Work Day in San Francisco,
    Perspective

    Why Asking for Bike Lanes Isn't Smart

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  3. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  4. Two men look over city plans at a desk in an office.
    Equity

    The Doomed 1970s Plan to Desegregate New York’s Suburbs

    Ed Logue was a powerful agent of urban renewal in New Haven, Boston, and New York City. But his plan to build low-income housing in suburbia came to nought.

  5. An old apartment building and empty lot and new modern construction
    Equity

    Will Presidential Candidates’ Plans to Address Redlining Work?

    Housing plans by Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg intend redress for racist redlining housing practices, but who will actually benefit?

×