Deadly and Destructive Path of Hurricane Irene seen in NASA Videos and Images

NASA Video Caption: The Life of Hurricane Irene from the Caribbean to Canada from August 21 through August 29 seen by NASA/NOAA satellites. Credit: NASA/NOAA/GOES/MODIS

The new NASA animation above shows the birth and subsequent destructive and deadly path followed by Hurricane Irene from August 21 through August 29, 2011 starting in the Caribbean, and then tracking along the US East Cost and up into Canada. The observations combine images taken by NASA and NOAA Earth orbiting satellites.

The cloud images were captured by the NASA/NOAA GOES-13 satellite and overlaid on a true-color NASA MODIS map. Irene followed a lengthy course over Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas, and then along the entire US East with landfalls over North Carolina, New Jersey and New York.

NASA ISS astronaut Ron Garan and cameras flying overhead aboard the International Space Station (ISS) also photographed vivid images showing the magnitude of Irene slamming into the US East coast.

Irene caused widespread property damage. Massive and raging flooding in several US states destroyed houses, crushed businesses and washed away bridges and roads and more. The worst flooding is yet to come to some inland portions of Vermont, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere as uncontrollable waters continue to rise at numerous rivers, lakes and even ponds, threatening even more misery in their wake.


So far 41 fatalities in 12 states have been attributed to Irene and more may be expected as searches continue. Some communities have been entirely cut off due to washed out access. Airlifts of food and water have begun. More people are being evacuated from New Jersey towns today, Aug 30.

Brave emergency rescue workers have put their own lives at peril and saved the lives of countless others of all ages from babies to the elderly. Some 8 million customers, including my area, lost power due to extensive flooding, downed trees and electrical wires, and devastated infrastructure.

Hurricane Irene twitpic from the International Space Station on 8/27/11 by NASA Astronaut Ron Garan
Irene From Space and the ISS as it crossed the coast on August 27, 2011 at 3:32pm EST. Hope everyone is OK wrote NASA Astronaut Ron Garan with his twitpic from the ISS. Credit: NASA/Ron Garan aboard the ISS

Emergency crews are hard at work to restore power as quickly as possible, but many thousands of homes and businesses could be without power for up to a week or more. About 3.3 million customers are still without power today.

NASA’s GOES-13 satellite captured a dramatic view of Hurricane Irene just 28 minutes prior to making landfall over New York City. Today’s NASA Image of the day shows the humongous cloud cover spanning the US East coast from the Mid-Atlantic States up to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and New England and into Toronto, Canada.

This GOES-13 image from Monday, August 29 at 7:45 a.m. EDT shows an active Atlantic Ocean with the remnants of Hurricane Irene moving into Quebec and Newfoundland (left), Tropical Storm Jose (center) and newly formed Tropical Depression 12 (right). Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Irene slams into North Carolina. The GOES-13 satellite saw Hurricane Irene on August 27, 2011 at 10:10 a.m. EDT after it made landfall at 8 a.m. in Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Irene's outer bands had already extended into New England. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

Many transit systems and airports in Irene’s path were shutdown ahead of the storm.

Send me your photos of Irene’s destruction to post at Universe Today.

Ken Kremer

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC,, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

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