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Satellites see devastating tornado damage in US from space (photos)

A Planet satellite captured views of Mayfield, Kentucky, where a candle factory owned by Mayfield Consumer Products, LLC was badly hit by a tornado on Dec. 10, 2021.
A Planet satellite captured views of Mayfield, Kentucky, where a candle factory owned by Mayfield Consumer Products, LLC was badly hit by a tornado on Dec. 10, 2021. (Image credit: Planet Labs PBC )

Satellite images show the destruction caused by the deadly tornadoes that tore through six states last week. 

Powerful tornadoes ripped through Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee late Friday night (Dec. 10). Satellites operated by the companies Maxar Technologies and Planet have captured striking views of the tornado damage from space. 

A Maxar satellite captured devastating damage to an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois. The company shared before-and-after photos of the area on Twitter

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The before photo of the warehouse was taken on Sept. 24 and was shared alongside a picture taken on Saturday (Dec. 11), after the storm. The walls and roof of the warehouse collapsed in the wake of the tornado, killing at least six people and leaving many workers trapped inside, The New York Times reported

A Planet satellite also captured views of the tornado damage across Samburg, Tennessee, and Mayfield, Kentucky, where a candle factory owned by Mayfield Consumer Products, LLC was badly hit by the twister. 

A Planet satellite captured the damage wrought by a tornado on Dec. 10, 2021, in Samburg, Tennessee.

A Planet satellite captured the damage wrought by a tornado on Dec. 10, 2021, in Samburg, Tennessee. (Image credit: Planet Labs PBC)

The Planet images show the Mayfield Consumer Product candle factory and nearby buildings completely destroyed by the tornado, which tore through the area around 9:30 p.m. local time. An estimated 110 people were at work at the factory on Friday night when the tornado hit. 

As of Monday (Dec. 13), there were 74 confirmed deaths from the tornado in Kentucky, including at least eight at the candle factory. Search efforts are still underway for additional victims, according to the report in The New York Times. 

At least four people died in Tennessee as a result of the Dec. 10 tornadoes, according to The New York Times report.

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Samantha Mathewson joined Space.com as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. When not writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys traveling to new places and taking photos! You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13.