Record-breaking tornadoes wreak havoc in less than 24 hours

Across multiple states on Friday, December 10, at least 50 tornadoes touched down, leaving those living in their path scrambling for safety and cover. In total, more than 100 tornado warnings through texts and sirens were issued before midnight, making it the most tornado warnings ever for a December day.

In Mayfield, KY, workers in a candle factory had less than 20 minutes warning about the powerful tornado that bearing down on them. In a matter of minutes, the factory was demolished with workers trapped under at least 5 feet of rubble. Outside of Edwardsville, IL, an Amazon warehouse bore the brunt of another tornado where at least six people died. In Monette, AR, a nursing home was completely destroyed.

The amount of destruction caused by these tornadoes stretches across neighborhoods and city blocks, leaving communities reeling and in desperate need of help during a particularly difficult time of year. Our Gray Sky Response team deployed several planes to collect and capture the damage across the impacted states, knowing that for emergency managers and our insurance members, time was of the essence.


The size and scope of the tornadoes was strikingly similar to how a hurricane behaves, stretching out along a larger swath of land for a continuous period of time. This meant getting multiple planes up in the air to capture large sections and ensure the heart of the sustained damage was collected.

Preliminary estimates of the destruction are estimated to be in the $18 billion range, but that could rise higher, making it the costliest weather event on record. To help aid our members in proactively responding to their customers, our Gray Sky team collected both oblique and ortho imagery, allowing for a virtual tour of heavily impacted properties. Below is a brief glimpse into the power of these storms and utter devastation they left in their wake.

Amazon Warehouse in Edwardsville, IL

The twister that touched down in this area sheared off half of a newly built warehouse. See all angles of this building to get a true understanding of the scope of damage.

Mayfield, KY

Mayfield sustained the largest–and longest–impact of the tornados, wiping out entire blocks and leveling a candle factory (see image 1 & 2 for the factory). Oblique and ortho imagery helps provide a more complete view of what’s truly lost.


Imagery neighborhoods before and after the tornado event.


Imagery is now available in the GIC platforms. If you need access to post-cat imagery from this string of tornadoes in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee, please fill out our contact form below.