Before and after NASA satellite images of the island of Leyte, Philippines reveals just how much havoc Super Typhoon Haiyan wreaked after making landfall Nov. 8.
One of -- if not the -- largest storms to ever make landfall, Haiyan pounded Leyte with winds of rougly 195 miles per hour. As of Nov. 23, the death toll for the entire country had reached more than 5,200.
The images were taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite. The top image, taken Nov. 15, stands in sharp contrast to the bottom picture, taken April 3, 2004.
In both, any land covered by plants is seen in red, while urban areas are depicted in white and silver, bare ground in tan and water and shadows in black.
The most apparent change lies in the depletion of vegetation between the 2004 image, in which the western mountains are covered in dense vegetation, to 2013, in which the hills sit naked, stripped of their foliage.
Given the nine years that separate the two images, it's possible human activity such as clearing impacted the amount of apparent vegetation. The plants may also appear different in November than April, though the location is tropical and experiences minimal seasonal impact. That graphic images taken after the storm show trees stripped bare and blown completely over adds suspicion that Haiyan may be largely to blame for the drastic loss of plant life seen in the photos.
Down near the shore, a large area south of the city of Tacloban appears tan where the storm erased plants and buildings, replacing them with mud. The peninsula where the city's airport is located also appears brown, indicating few plants or buildings withstood the violent storm.
More subtle changes to the city can be seen in the blurring of ordered grid streets as debris masked the land beneath it -- an observation corroborated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's radar-based satellite analysis of the area.
Finally, pockets of black or dark blue south of the city and west of the hills on the left side of the image indicate areas of flooding, though some dark patches are shadows cast by clouds.
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