greenfield tornado
The mile-long path of destruction in Greenfield, Iowa, after a tornado ripped through it on May 21, 2024. Credit: Blacksky/Twitter

Satellite Photo Shows Trail of Destruction in Iowa After Deadly Tornado

An intelligence company shared a satellite image showing the nearly mile-long path of destruction caused by a tornado in Greenfield, Iowa.

The space-based intelligence company BlackSky shared a satellite image showing the nearly mile-long path of destruction caused by Tuesday's deadly tornado in Greenfield, Iowa. Looking at the image, it looks like a diagonal line starting from the northeast corner of the town and ending in the southwest corner.

Using initial storm surveys, the National Weather Service in Iowa classified Greenfield's tornado as an EF-3, meaning the twister had estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour. The service classified tornadoes in other areas of the state as EF-2, meaning wind speeds reaching 135 miles per hour.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, four people died and at least 35 people suffered injuries as a result of the tornado damage in Greenfield. Additionally, officials say a fifth person died in another part of the state and they believe many more people were injured.

Assessing Iowa Tornado Damage

On Thursday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds requested federal aid via a Presidential Disaster Declaration to address damaged caused by the storms. In the request, the governor said four counties experienced tornado wind damage and flooding. As a result, the storms destroyed 202 homes, knocked out power to 69,005 homes, washed out hundreds of roads and bridges, and damaged other infrastructure and buildings, including a hospital in Greenfield.

old glory

First responders in Greenfield, Iowa, fixing old glory after a tornado ripped through the town on May 21, 2024. Credit: Iowa Governor's Office/Facebook

Reynolds also issued a state of emergency for an additional 17 counties across the state, which provides state financial aid to storm victims. In a statement, she explained that first responders and utility crews have been working non-stop. "It was just a few weeks ago that tornadoes hit several other Iowa communities, and it's hard to believe that it's happened again," Reynolds said. "Iowans are strong and resilient, and we will get through this together."

During the storms on Tuesday, experts say tornados touched down in three states — Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin — while other states, ranging from Texas to New York, experienced wind and rain. However, the town of Greenfield suffered more damage than most. Experts say residents only had a 46-minute lead time before the tornado struck.

This year, the U.S. has had a historically bad tornado season. According to reports, some 859 have already touched down and nearly 700 of them in April and May. Last month, tornadoes ripped through areas of Nebraska, Tennessee, and Oklahoma as well as Iowa.