Tornado devastation: Tornado images from the last century. (PHOTOS)

Collected images.
May 23 2011 5:43 PM

Run for Cover

A century of tornado photography.

Slide Show: Historic Tornadoes. Click image to launch.

Residents of Joplin, Mo., had a 24-minute warning before a massive twister ripped through the city on Sunday, killing at least 90 people and leaving a mile-wide path of destruction in its wake.

Uprooted homes and piles of debris are easily captured in photographs. But snapping an image of the tornado itself is trickier."Even today, it's almost impossible [for] a photograph or a movie to capture the true terrifying majesty of a tornado," says Albert Theberge, the acting head of reference at the NOAA central library. "When you get up close and you see houses being ripped apart and debris falling into the sky and swirling around, you realize … these are pretty powerful forces that we're dealing with. We poor humans are pretty puny by comparison."

Humans, puny or not, have been trying to capture the greatness of these swirling disasters since at least the late 1880s. View a slide show  of some the earliest tornado images in existence.

Elizabeth Weingarten is the associate editor at New America and the associate director of its Global Gender Parity Initiative.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

160 Countries Host Marches to Demand Action on Climate Change

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.