Hurricane Irma leaves trail of destruction in Havana

Image Among the places used to shelter over a million Cubans evacuated by Civil Defense were 39 underground military bunkers dug over 20 years ago when the regime was convinced the island would be attacked by America
Hurricane Irma continues battering north coast of central Cuba

13 September, 2017

There were no immediate reports of deaths in Cuba - a country that prides itself on its disaster preparedness - but authorities were trying to restore power, clear roads and warning that people should stay off the streets of Havana because flooding could continue into Monday.

President Raul Castro called on Cubans on Monday to unite in swiftly rebuilding the Caribbean nation in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which killed at least 10 people during a devastating three-day rampage along the length of the island.

Antigua and Barbuda, St. Martin and the Virgins Islands took the brunt of Hurricane Irma's wrath as the storm cut power lines and communication to and from the isolated islands.

"Differences in ocean color likely stem from differences in the ocean surface; rougher surfaces scatter more light, and appear brighter and lighter", says NASA.

The before pictures reveal a green landscape, capturing the lush plant life that blanketed much of these tropical islands on August 25.

"There are a number of possible reasons for this". NASA explains that lush green tropical vegetation can be ripped away by a storm's strong winds, leaving the satellite with a view of more bare ground.

That aftermath was captured in satellite imagery shared by NASA yesterday. Also, salt spray whipped up by the hurricane can coat and desiccate leaves while they are still on the trees.

A close-up of Virgin Gorda gives a better sense of the changes. The images above were taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites.

Irma, which had winds of more than 160 mph (260 kph) by the time it reached Cuba, progressed for some 200 miles (322 km) along the island's northern shore before the eye of the storm turned northward on Sunday to batter Florida.

In a tweet, the Dutch navy said the security situation on St. Maarten, which saw widespread looting and robberies after Hurricane Irma, had improved thanks to patrols by marines and police flown to the island to help overwhelmed local law enforcement. The left image shows Barbuda on August 21, and the right image shows the ravaged landscape on September 8.

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