Timelapse of Hurricane Sandy, Satellite Views October 23-31, 2012

by Nancy Atkinson on November 2, 2012

Here’s a complete animation of Hurricane Sandy from October 23-31, as seen by GOES-13, a geosynchronous satellite that is in orbit nearly 36,000 km (23,000 miles) above Earth. This huge storm was costly in terms of death and destruction. The death toll currently stands at 160 (88 in the U.S., 54 in Haiti, 11 in Cuba), with damage estimates ranging from $10 – $55 billion.

Below is a timelapse animation which shows the full hemisphere view from GOES-13, showing the development of Hurricane Sandy as it begins over Central America and begins its path up through the Caribbean and the east coast of the U.S.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of the storm around 3:13 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (7:13 Universal Time) on October 31. Credit: NASA/NOAA

This image from the Suomi NPP satellite shows remnants of Hurricane Sandy as it moved inland in the early morning hours of October 31, 2012. As the center of the system passed Pennsylvania, its maximum sustained winds were 40 miles (64 kilometers) per hour. This image is from the “day-night band” on VIIRS, which detects light wavelengths from green to near-infrared. The Moon lit the tops of the clouds.

Sandy’s clouds stretched from Hudson Bay to Chicago and Washington. Clusters of lights gave away the locations of some cities throughout the region; but along the East Coast, clouds mostly obscured the lights, many of which were blacked out due to the storm. On October 31, the Wall Street Journal reported that several million customers in multiple states were without electricity.

You can see more satellite images of Sandy’s traverse at the NASA Earth Observatory website.


Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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