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Wisconsin has a massive, decade-old tornado scar that is still visible from space

Published Jan 3rd, 2018 4:55PM EST
tornado scar
Image: NOAA

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Tornados can be absolutely devastating forces of nature, especially when they materialize over a populated area with little warning, but the destruction they bring often fades with time. That doesn’t seem to be the case in northern Wisconsin, where a 40-mile-long scar still remains from a strong tornado which tore through thousands of acres of forest over a decade ago.

On June 7th, 2007, a large EF3 tornado sliced through thick woods in the north of the state, tearing down everything in its path for 40 miles before finally sputtering to a stop. An incredible 14,000 acres of forest was lost to the twister, and as The Weather Channel points out, the area still sports a nasty gash that can be seen from weather satellites.

The huge scar is visible most clearly during the winter, when snow piles up on the now sparsely-wooded ground and highlights the large gap between the trees. The massive gash is around three-quarters of a mile in width, and while the area is beginning to regain some sizable vegetation it’s still nowhere near as dense as the surrounding forest.

The tornado that touched down way back in 2007 didn’t claim any lives, but it did damage several buildings and vehicles. It was rated as an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which classifies tornados based on their power and the damage they cause. An EF3 twister has winds of between 136 and 165 miles per hour, and can cause “severe damage” including damage to large buildings and the destruction of homes. In this case, most of the damage was done to a heavy forest, but the scale of course still applies.