We recently came across this article featuring Google Earth imagery showing the town of Pilger, Nebraska, before and after a tornado. After a bit of research, it appears that the newly added image is from October 14th, 2014 and shows the town in the early stages of reconstruction. There are, however, images in Google Earth’s historical imagery that show the town just days after the tornado hit. It also turns out that the tornado that hit Pilger was just one of an outbreak of tornadoes from June 16-18 of 77 tornadoes that caused two fatalities, numerous injuries and widespread damage over several states.
Looking around in Google Earth’s historical imagery we discovered more images from soon after the tornados, including some showing tornado damage in the town of Wessington Springs, South Dakota. In addition, there is also imagery from Madison, Wisconsin which was also struck by a tornado, but we were unable to identify any tornado damage.
Pilger in September 2011.
Pilger on June 21st, 2014, just days after the tornado
Pilger on October 14th 2014, showing the debris has been cleared.
Wessington Springs on June 21st, 2014
You can see some footage of the tornado from security cameras in this news report and from a distance in this YouTube video, and in depth analysis of the tornado here. It is also worth having a look at the Street View in Pilger, which is from August 2012 and gives an idea of what buildings were destroyed.
To view the locations mentioned in this post in Google Earth, download this KML file
See here for past articles about the destruction caused by tornados seen in Google Earth.
About Timothy Whitehead
Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.