- Deimos Imaging; Airbus; Business Insider
Update: We’ve added new before-and-after satellite images of Harvey’s flooding in Texas.
Eastern Texas saw its first rays of sunshine in days on Wednesday as deadly floodwaters there dumped by Hurricane Harvey began to recede.
The open skies gave residents in Houston, Texas – an area devastated by record-breaking rainfall and flooding – their first sign of hope for recovery, and also allowed satellites in space clear views of the devastation.
Deimos-1 and Deimos-2, a pair of satellites run by Deimos Imaging (a subsidiary of UrtheCast), have started beaming back their first images of Harvey flooding.
Drag the slider on the two interactives below to compare before-and-after images.
The first view shows the Greater Houston region, as seen by Deimos-1 (a satellite with a wider-angle view of Earth). On the right is the “before” photo, taken on May 24, 2017, and on the left is the “after” image taken on Thursday.
Near-infrared light detected by the satellite and processed in this image makes plants look red and water look green-blue. This boosts the image’s contrast and helps flooding look more clear set against the vegetation.
The “after” image clearly shows rivers, reservoirs, and tributaries swelling with water and inundating vast areas. It also shows a smear of soil and debris spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.
Deimos-2, which takes more zoomed-in photos, also surveyed the devastation.
In this second view, the right pane is an image of taken on Wednesday, and the left pane shows a Google Earth image of the same area dated to January 2017.
The images show Interstate 69 near Humble, Texas, which is located northeast of Houston. Both cities are part of Harris County, one of the regions hardest-hit by flooding.
A swollen tributary of Lake Houston can be seen overtaking a bridge to the north. Nearby neighborhoods and businesses also appear swamped by floodwaters.
DigitalGlobe, another satellite imaging company, has also released stunning before-and-after photos of the disaster from space.