Looking Down on a Decade: Satellite Images Tell the Stories

Associated Press
Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Read the full story at the Associated Press

"There has been no shortage of big news over the last decade. Spanning the globe, some stories were expected while others caught the world off guard. Some were so massive they were visible from space, captured through state-of-the-art imaging satellites belonging to technology company and imagery provider Maxar Technologies. Together, The Associated Press and Maxar assembled a selection of the most striking images."

They range from glacial melting and other natural phenomena to geopolitical events. Hurricanes can be particularly devastating if they make landfall, and but in the ten years prior to 2017, America had managed to avoid the major storms.

Then came 2017. Three powerful hurricanes — Harvey, Irma and Maria — slammed into different parts of the country, causing $265 billion damage in four weeks.

“We set an alarming number of hurricane records in 2017,” MIT hurricane scientist Kerry Emanuel said.

Harvey parked itself over Houston and unleashed a downpour. It killed 68 people and set a U.S. record for amount of rain recorded from a storm: 60.58 inches. Harvey’s $120 billion in damages ranks as the second-costliest U.S. storm behind only Katrina in 2005.

Hurricane Irma came next and stayed at maximum Category 5 strength for the longest time ever recorded. Irma was the second-strongest storm recorded in the Atlantic, and it devastated the Caribbean and plowed into Florida. Irma’s $50 billion in damages ranks fifth.

The most devastating came last: Hurricane Maria leveled parts of Puerto Rico. Experts still can’t agree on how many people died, with some estimates in the thousands. Maria was America’s third-costliest storm at $90 billion.

Story Image: This Dec. 12, 2018 image provided by Maxar Technologies shows temporary shelters that have been erected in the Kutupalong area of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies via AP)