How strong was Irma? It changed the color of these islands

There are a lot of ways to measure the strength of Hurricane Irma, including its viciously fast wind speeds, the multiple people it killed and the millions more left without power or with damaged houses.

But with an aerial photograph, NASA captured another indication of the storm’s devastation — it changed the color of some Caribbean islands.

The NASA Earth Observatory released the images, taken by the Landsat 8 satellite, showing a side-by-side comparison of the Virgin Islands before and after Hurricane Irma struck, according to Business Insider.

In the picture before Irma, the islands of St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola and Virgin Gorda brim with lush greenery, according to Forbes.

In the photograph after, that color is gone.

NASA Earth Observatory

So why did the storm make the islands turn brown?

Kathryn Hansen, a NASA science writer, said it is likely because the storm’s strong winds literally ripped plants out of the ground. She also said that the leaves could have been dried out by salt that was whipped onto the island when the storm hit.

Another image, this one showing Antigua and Barbuda, highlights the two very different fates of the island.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne paid a visit to Barbuda Island on September 6, to survey the damage left by Hurricane Irma. “The extent of the destruction in Barbuda is unprecedented,” Browne told state broadcaster ABS TV, “95 per

While Barbuda is now much more brown, Antigua remains largely unchanged in its green color.


That seems to be because Irma’s eye went just a bit north above Antigua, sparing the island the brunt of its devastation, while Barbuda was hit hard, according to Business Insider.

In some islands, including Barbuda, 90 percent of buildings were reported to be destroyed or damaged, according to Business Insider.

It will cost about $100 million dollars to restore the damage on Barbuda caused by the storm, according to the nation's Prime Minister, Gaston Browne.

As Hurricane Irma prepares to hit Florida, those on the Caribbean island of Anguilla are assessing the devastating effect the storm had on their island. Before slamming into Cuba, Irma had caused havoc in the Caribbean, where it ravaged Anguilla a