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Environment

Watch the lights blink out in Michael's aftermath, as seen in before and after views from space

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Imagery from the NOAA-20 satellite on Oct. 6 and 12, 2018. (Images: University of Wisconsin SSEC. Animation: Tom Yulsman) Hurricane Michael tore into the Florida Panhandle with winds up to 155 miles per hour, pushing up a flooding storm surge of nine to 14 feet, causing buildings to explode, and toppling countless trees. Another impact was widespread power outages. Just how widespread is visible in the animation above. I created it using before-and-after nighttime images from the NOAA-20 satellite, one on Oct. 6 and the other on Oct. 12. The imagery data come from the Visible-Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument aboard the satellite. VIIRS includes a Day Night Band that can reveal power outages. In this case, city lights in the path of Michael blink out, from the Florida Panhandle northeastward into east-central Georgia.

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VIIRS Day Night Band Visible imagery from NOAA-20 on 6 October and 12 October, 2018. (Source: CIMSS Satellite Blog) Here's a much broader view including a region as far north as Atlanta, which is at the upper edge of the image, just right of center. If you're wondering whether cloudiness might account for some of the dimming in Michael's aftermath, infrared imagery from the VIIRS instrument on Oct. 12 "shows scant evidence of clouds over the region where city lights are missing," according to the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, source of this animation.

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