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What the tornado-spewing storm looked like from space

NASA shares a video of animated images taken by satellite of the destructive storm that spawned a series of deadly tornadoes.

NASA storm image
This GOES-East satellite image from the morning of April 28 shows the deadly storm system. NASA/NOAA GOES Project

On April 27 and 28, a massive storm system set loose a series of tornadoes from Nebraska to Mississippi. Satellites watched from above as the storms grew, sending valuable information to forecasters following the storm on Earth. NASA compiled satellite data into a time-lapse video that shows how the storm rose, built up, and moved across the land.

The animation was produced with images gathered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, known as GOES-East. The video shows the weather system developing and the clouds intensifying as it builds.

The satellite is one tool in the arsenal used by weather forecasters to monitor storm systems. As the name suggests, GOES-East is focused on capturing data for the eastern U.S. and the Atlantic.

Creating the video was more complex than it appears on the surface. The cloud imagery collected by the satellite was overlaid onto a true-color image of the land and ocean created using data from different NASA satellites. The 31-second video covers about a day and a half of real time.

We've seen images of the destruction left on the ground. The dramatic NASA animation from above offers a more complete picture and shows just how large and intense the weather system was.