Path of 2016 Illinois Tornado Still Visible on Google Earth

Chris Dolce
Published: April 12, 2018

Satellite imagery from Google Earth is giving us a bird's-eye view of a tornado scar, which carved a path through farmland in east-central Illinois.

The EF2 tornado touched down on Sept. 9, 2016 a few miles southwest of Homer, Illinois, which is about a two and a half hour drive south of Chicago.

Almost a month later on Oct. 10, fresh satellite imagery was gathered from the region, and it shows the tornado's scar across several fields as well as the damage it caused to a farmstead, as pointed out in a tweet from Andrew Pritchard, an agricultural meteorologist at Agrible.

Since the imagery was taken soon after the tornado struck, it allows this path to stand out vividly, which wouldn't have happened if the image were taken several months later.

​​​​​​(MORE: Tornado Central)

The arrows show the tornado path across farmland.
(Google Maps)

An up-close shot of the farmstead illustrates the damage it caused to buildings, as well as debris littering nearby fields. The maximum path width of the tornado was estimated to be about 75 yards, according to a National Weather Service survey.

This zoomed-in version shows the damage to the farmstead and debris littering adjacent fields.
(Google Maps)

Zooming out, you can see a broader view of the tornado path, with the aforementioned farmstead on the far left side of the satellite image. This is just a portion of the tornado's 6.3-mile track length.

You can see the imagery for yourself in Google Maps at this link.

This is a broader view of the tornado path highlighted by the three white arrows.
(Google Maps)

Various satellite imagery sources have given us many other views of tornado damage paths over the years. Typically, this is from stronger and larger tornadoes, compared to the 2016 Illinois tornado documented above.

(MORE: Here's the Peak of Tornado Season)

One notable example is a tornado path in a densely forested area of northeastern Wisconsin, which still remains visible on satellite imagery more than a decade after it struck.


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