NOAA

This image was taken right before a huge tornado hit the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, killing at least six people.

Last night, a savage weather system with strange properties – one witness described it as "bizarre" because its winds madly shifted directions – visited the towns surrounding Dallas/Fort Worth. Meteorologists have made a preliminary tally of 10 tornadoes spun out by the storm, a furious sky-lashing that killed at least six people and left others still missing.

Up in the silence of space, a U.S. government satellite watched the monster system as it moved over north Texas. The GOES-East spacecraft captured the above image around 7:45 p.m. – 21 minutes before the storm dropped a large twister on Granbury, which is located 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Here's a closer look:

The tornado reportedly measured as wide as a mile and had no trouble making splinters of what it touched in the community of roughly 8,000 souls. Violent winds ripped roofs off of houses and peppered the region with hail the size of golfballs and baseballs. Some homes were reduced to bald slates of concrete, like this Granbury property :

NWS/Dallas/Fort Worth

"Where do you hide if you're living here?" said a local man staring at one such empty foundation, according to the Dallas Morning News' account of the disaster. "How do you take cover there. There's nothing. There's no hiding. This tornado was a monster."

Top image courtesy of NOAA

About the Author

John Metcalfe
John Metcalfe

John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.

Most Popular

  1. Postcards showing the Woodner when it used to be a luxury apartment-hotel in the '50s and '60s, from the collection of John DeFerrari
    Equity

    The Neighborhood Inside a Building

    D.C.’s massive Woodner apartment building has lived many lives—from fancy hotel to one of the last bastions of affordable housing in a gentrifying neighborhood. Now, it’s on the brink of another change.

  2. Design

    The Military Declares War on Sprawl

    The Pentagon thinks better designed, more walkable bases can help curb obesity and improve troops’ fitness.

  3. Life

    Why a City Block Can Be One of the Loneliest Places on Earth

    Feelings of isolation are common in cities. Let’s take a look at how the built environment plays into that.

  4. Members of a tenants' organization in East Harlem gather outside the office of landlord developer Dawnay, Day Group, as lawyers attempt to serve the company with court papers on behalf of tenants, during a press conference in New York. The tenant's group, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, filed suit against Dawnay, Day Group, the London-based investment corporation "for harassing tenants by falsely and illegally charging fees in attempts to push immigrant families from their homes and gentrify the neighborhood," said Chaumtoli Huq, an attorney for the tenants.
    Equity

    Toward Being a Better Gentrifier

    There’s a right way and a wrong way to be a neighbor during a time of rapid community change.

  5. Modest two-bedroom apartments are unaffordable to full-time minimum wage workers in every U.S. county.
    Maps

    Rent Is Affordable to Low-Wage Workers in Exactly 12 U.S. Counties

    America’s mismatch between wages and rental prices is more perverse than ever.