Four days after Maryland’s strongest-ever tornado severely damaged the town of La Plata, authorities continued to count the cost of the storm. In the latest tally, 860 homes and 194 business were damaged or destroyed, and the total cost of the damage is expected to exceed $100 million.
The above image was acquired by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+), aboard Landsat 7, one minute before Earth Observer-1 (which produced an image with the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) instrument) passed over La Plata on May 1, 2002. Although the ETM+ does not have quite the same resolution or sensitivity as the ALI (a maximum or 15 meters per pixel for the ETM+, and a maximum of 10 meters per pixel for the ALI), it has a much wider field-of-view. The scene shows the entire length of the tornado’s path—roughly 39 km (24 miles).
Powerful thunderstorms swept through the mid-Atlantic states on April 28, spawning an F4 intensity tornado that ripped through La Plata, Maryland, destroying much of its historic downtown and claiming at least three lives.
A number of severe thunderstorms swept through the mid-Atlantic states on April 28, bringing high winds, hailstones, and heavy rains to many areas. The intense storms spawned at least two tornadoes, one of which was classified as an F4 twister. The powerful tornado touched down in southern Maryland and ripped through the town of La Plata, destroying most of the historic downtown. The twister—the strongest ever recorded to hit the state and perhaps the strongest ever recorded in the eastern U.S.—flattened everything in its path along a 39 kilometer (24 mile) swath running west to east through the state.