Then and now: one year after our tornado

Hard to believe that one year ago tonight was Good Friday. My parents were at church. I was at work. My family was at home. And they were right in the path of a tornado that cut across north St. Louis County.

We’ve come quite a ways since that day.

As part of the Post-Dispatch’s tornado anniversary coverage, I helped produce some ‘then and now’ photo sliders for different communities affected by the tornado.

I decided to try the same technique with a couple photos of my own house, as well as some satellite images from map websites. You can see them below.

I also produced a map of tornado-damaged properties using data provided by St. Louis County. You can even locate my house on it (we get a red dot – level 3 damage).

A couple notes. The second photo pairing is a bit misleading because we actually built an addition on the house, so the house is longer than it was before.

Also, the final pairing is not a “then and now,” but a “before and after.” Yahoo maps is currently using satellite imagery taken before the tornado hit. Google’s current imagery, on the other hand, is from afterward. I can’t tell exactly when the Google image was captured, but perhaps September. Both our trees are cut down and removed, there is no tarp on the house, and I believe the addition is built and roofed.

4 Replies to “Then and now: one year after our tornado”

  1. Nice job on that Josh. I haven’t seen that on a web site anywhere so the Post should be very pleased with what you’ve done.

  2. Dad, I was inspired by work I saw on the New York Times website after the earthquake in Japan, and after the Joplin tornado. Their projects were based on satellite and Google street view images for, obviously, cataclysmic disasters. Also, I think they used Flash to power their “before and after” interactives.

    I wanted to do one in javascript/jquery and make it work on the iPad. I found an article that got me started (, but ultimately my final solution ended up being different from that one.

  3. Josh, I couldn’t get the sliders to work on my iPad…maybe because it is first generation and the OS is outdated. But they work great on my laptop. And thank you for not basing the project on Flash. I get so frustrated with not being able to see those cool things the NYT is doing. I think your sliders are brilliant and they should work for almost anyone if they can work for me.

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