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New England Tornado Track: Earth Image of the Week June 10, 2011
Landsat image of Massachusetts tornado track.
Massachusetts tornadoes on June 1 killed at least four people and wrecked homes, schools and businesses.
A deadly twister cut a 29-mile path of destruction across western and central parts of Massachusetts during the afternoon and evening of June 1, 2011.

Officials said that four people in total died in the communities of West Springfield, Springfield and Brimfield.

The image to the right, taken four days later by the Landsat satellite’s Thematic Mapper, shows a portion of the scar that was torn open across the landscape near Sturbridge by the EF3 tornado’s whirlwinds.

Massachusetts state police officials reported the tornado was on the ground, overturning cars near Interstate 84 in southern Sturbridge at 5:22 p.m. local time.

As can be seen in the Landsat image, the damage became lighter just to the north of Southbridge as the twister began to dissipate.

The twister first touched down to the west in the Munger Hill section of Westfield, where damage was mainly limited to trees. But it intensified quickly and widened as it neared Springfield, eventually reaching a half-mile in width in Brimfield State Forest.

That tornado was just one of at least seven that spun up and hit several towns and cities in the area from mid-afternoon through mid-evening local time.

Deadly tornadoes are unusual but not unprecedented in Massachusetts. In 1953, one of the single deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history struck Worcester, killing 94 people.

Full story and image: NASA