Evening light catches the tops of towering thunderheads over the Mid-Atlantic states on April 28, 2002. The powerful storms spawned several tornados, one of which was classified as an F4 tornado. The powerful tornado touched down in the southern Maryland town of La Plata, destroying most of the historic downtown. The twister—one of the strongest ever to hit the state—beat a 24-mile swath running west to east through the state and claimed at least three lives.
The image above was taken by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) at 7:15 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time. A large version of the animation shows more detail. (5.9 MB Quicktime)