These NASA Images Of Puerto Rico's Power Loss Are Staggering

All image credits: NASA

Hurricane Maria was the most devastating hurricane to make land in Puerto Rico in nearly 100 years and the country is still reeling in its wake. Much of the island still doesn’t have running water, reliable communication or electricity.

Recently, NASA published a set of date-processed photos that show the island’s nighttime lights both before and after the storm.


Below, you can see images of the country’s capital, San Juan, on a typical night before Maria. It’s based on cloud-free and low moonlight conditions:

San Juan before Maria.

Conversely, the following composite image is of data taken on the nights of Sept. 27 and 28—nearly a week after the storm hit—by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, a scanning radiometer that collects visible and infrared imagery of land, atmosphere, cryosphere and oceans, according to NASA’s website.

San Juan after Maria.

There are still pervasive power outages around the capital, including, NASA notes, at “key hospital and transportation infrastructure” locations.

And here are images of Puerto Rico as a whole, before and after the storm:


NASA notes that the images don’t show raw imagery of light, either. Scientists from the Goddard Space Flight and Marshall Space Flight Centers went over the raw data and took out “stray light from the Moon, fires, airglow, and any other sources that are not electric lights... also [removed] as much other atmospheric interference—such as dust, haze, and thin clouds.”

By releasing this information, NASA hopes to help emergency responders better map out which areas are still in need of help and who has been without power the longest.


“It is critical that we get this processing done quickly, so that we can provide the cleanest and most useful imagery to the National Guard, FEMA, and other first responders,” said Miguel Román, who is leading the effort from Goddard in a statement. “Uncorrected images can be misleading because of things like cloud cover and changing moonlight conditions.”

via The Verge

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Kristen Lee

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.