The immense devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, the worst of which was felt by the Caribbean Islands and Cuba, has left a chilling after image. Before and after pictures from Nasa’s Landsat 8 reveal that the immense decimation of foliage in some of the islands have resulted in a change of color, which may even be permanent. Barbuda, for example, used to be a tourist haven with its lush green foliage clearly visible from space. The island now just looks like a hunk of brown clay floating on the Caribbean sea.
Among the worst impacted are the islands of Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Barts and St. Martin. In Barbuda, 90% of all existing structures were impacted and Prime Minister Gaston Browne estimates it will be a 100 million USD repair job for Barbuda alone. Some islands received respite from the storm such as Virgin Gorda that still appears green after the storm. The sudden change of landscape could be due to plants being uprooted to uncover brown earth and salt spray turning leaves brown.