This is really unfortunate and pretty telling as to the power and fury of Mother Nature – the Earth Observatory at NASA has published images, both before and after, of the East Coast where Sandy came ashore. You have to see this, it is unbelievable.
So here is the coast before Sandy hit:
and here is the ensuring blackout and chaos post-Sandy:
This pair of images shows New Jersey, New York, and eastern Pennsylvania as viewed at night by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite. The top image was taken at 2:52 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (06:52 Universal Time) on November 1, 2012. For comparison, the lower image was taken at 2:14 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (06:14 UTC) on August 31, 2012, when conditions in the area were normal.
Both images were captured by the VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as gas flares, city lights, and reflected moonlight. In the top image, lingering clouds from Hurricane Sandy are lit by moonlight and obscure much of New York’s Hudson Valley, northwestern New Jersey, and northeastern Pennsylvania. (For a wider view, download the large image beneath each web image.)
Turn on the “view image comparison” button to see the difference in city lighting before and after the blackout. In Manhattan, the lower third of the island is dark on November 1, while Rockaway Beach, much of Long Island, and nearly all of central New Jersey are significantly dimmer. The barrier islands along the New Jersey coast, which are heavily developed with tourist businesses and year-round residents, are just barely visible in moonlight after the blackout.
Along with the scattered electric lights, there is a bright point along the shore south of Mantoloking, New Jersey, that could be fires fueled by severed natural gas lines. Note: It is not clear if the fires reported on October 31were still burning on November 1.
For more views of the storm, visit our Hurricane Sandy event page.
The Earth Observatory has this applet on the website that allows you to move a slider across both images overlaid together, showing a humbling differentiation between the before and after shots:
In order to get this view, go to the Earth Observatory Blackout in New Jersey page and click the “View Image Comparison” button. It’s crazy how the blackout just spidered across the coast.