Satellites revealed the extent of the devastation Hurricane Ian wreaked over Florida last week, but their images also show glimpses of recovery as they appear to be coming back where power has already been restored after widespread outages.
Hurricane Ian passed over Florida last week as a powerful Category 4 storm, causing severe flooding in coastal areas due to storm surge and torrential rain. The hurricane, which lashed the coast with damaging winds of more than 155 mph (250 km/h), has killed nearly 100 Florida residents, according to Florida today (opens in new tab) on Monday (October 3).
Earth observation satellites operated by private companies and government agencies play a critical role in assessing the extent of damage, as satellites can look into areas that may still be inaccessible to ground-based rescue teams.
Related: Astronaut looks into eye of Hurricane Ian from space as storm weakens over Florida (photos)
Satellites owned by US company Maxar Technologies recorded the devastation along the beach in Fort Myers, Lee County, on Florida’s west coast, where entire neighborhoods were wiped out by the storm surge, which raised sea levels by more than 12 feet ( 3.7 meters). above normal tidal levels, according to Sky News (opens in new tab).
Comparing images taken before and after Ian’s fury shows the difference around Fort Myers Beach: The fishing village around the pier looks completely destroyed by the storm, as do many homes around Main Boulevard.
Images collected by competitor Maxar Planet show a damaged causeway connecting Sanibel Island to mainland Florida.
Picture 1 of 6
Lower-resolution images taken by satellites operated by Europe’s Copernicus environmental monitoring program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed dark, dirty water running off the flooded coast changing the color of the murky Gulf of Mexico.
In a more hopeful sign, the NOAA 20 satellite captured a nighttime view of Florida that shows lights coming back on in many areas where power has already been restored after extensive blackouts following the hurricane’s passage.
Picture 1 of 3
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season got off to a slow start, with no named storms forming over the ocean for the entirety of August. Since then activity has picked up. Just a week before Ian, Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Ricoits remains reach as far as Canada (an unusual phenomenon that may have something to do with climate change, according to experts).
After Hurricane Ian hit Florida, it regained strength over the Atlantic Ocean before making a second landfall in South Carolina, knocking out power to 200,000 homes and causing devastating flooding.
While the remnants of Ian are now dumping rain in New York and New England, forecasters are also monitoring Tropical Storm Orlene, which made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in southwestern Mexico on Monday (October 3) and dumped more than 10 inches (25 cm) . ) of rain on the coast.
Follow Tereza Pultarova on Twitter @Tereza Pultarova. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and up Facebook.