Rochelle/Fairdale Tornado Damage now Visible in Google Earth

We have looked at tornado damage in Google Earth a number of times before, including tornado’s that struck the US towns of:
Pilger, Nebraska and Wessington Springs, South Dakota
Mayflower, Arkansas – May 2014
Moore, Oklahoma – May, 2013
Joplin, Missouri – May 2011
Tuscaloosa and Jefferson County, Alabama – April 2011
Yazoo City, Mississippi – April 2010
Greensburg, Kansas – May 2007

On April 9th, 2015 a tornado struck near the town of Rochelle, Illinois. For ground level videos and photos see this story. Considering the amount of damage visible in Google Earth, it is amazing that only two people lost their lives.

The image from April 11th, 2015 was captured just two days after the tornado struck and clearly shows the scar left by the tornado right across the image, over 30km.

About half the town of Fairdale, Illinois was completely destroyed.

Some houses near the town of Rochelle, Illinois. Notice all the cars lining the roads. Presumably a mix of rescue workers making sure there is nobody still trapped in the debris, news reporters and curious onlookers.

To see the above imagery in Google Earth, you will need to look in ‘historical imagery’. You can also download this KML file which shows the locations of all the tornado’s we have covered in the past including this one.

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.


  1. There’s a track in NE Wisconsin, across Menominee and Oconto Counties that partially disappears, but actually continues across Marinette County before dissipating in Menominee County, Michigan. The heaviest and most visible damage is in forested area, which points out the fact that many tornadoes don’t hit populated areas. The storm in question happened in the previous decade, and shows up in historical imagery back to 2008, but not in 2005.

    • Timothy Whitehead says:

      Good find! I see that scar is visible from quite a height. There are photos in the area saying the tornado was in Spring 2007.

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