Aerial Photograph Shows How Dallas EF3 Tornado Put Northern Parts of City in Dark

Chris Dolce
Published: October 22, 2019
This aerial image shows power outages along the path of the Dallas tornado. The tornado formed on the left side of the image and traveled eastward.
(Dallas Police Department Helicopter Unit)

Nighttime isn't usually the best time of day to see tornado damage, but when a strong twister strikes a densely populated area like what happened in Dallas Sunday night, the resulting view of power outages can be stunning.

The Dallas Police Department showed this in the photo above, taken from a helicopter on Monday night. In the image, you can see the darkness from power outages along the tornado's path from its origin near Interstate 35E on the left side of the picture to areas farther east.

For comparison, the tornado's nearly 16-mile-long path through the northern Dallas metro area is shown below in an image from the National Weather Service survey. The photo of outages along the twister's track was taken on the far left near where the damage path begins.

Estimated damage path of the Dallas tornado. The tornado formed on the far left of the damage path and traveled eastward.
(National Weather Service Fort Worth)

Since the tornado moved through an area with a large number of homes and businesses, the darkness from widespread power outages stands out from the brightly lit undamaged areas bordering the tornado's path. This nighttime power outage contrast would not be seen if the tornado had moved through a rural area with few structures.

The Dallas tornado was on the ground for 32 minutes, from 8:58 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. CDT on Sunday night. Its maximum width was up to three-quarters of a mile.

Much of the damage along the tornado's path was rated EF1 or EF2. The maximum EF3 rating was based on damage to a single home which lost its roof and had multiple collapsed exterior walls. At that location, the tornado's winds were estimated to be 140 mph.


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