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Before and After: Here's What the D.C. Blackouts Look Like From Space

Environment
Satellite image after the storm on June 30 showing the power outages. (Image: NASA Earth Observatory)

You may have already seen a slew of photographs of the devastating effects on the ground of the massive storms that ravaged the Washington, D.C., area over the weekend. NASA has recently released a different view: images that show how the power outages looked from space.

(Related: Violent storms leave millions without power during massive heat wave)

NASA describes the images taken by its Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite as emphasizing the loss of light in areas close to the District and within Maryland and Virginia. Clouds after the storm obscure some of the lights in Philadelphia and areas north and east of Baltimore.

It also released a handy tool you can use to visualize the outage by moving your cursor across the image. Try it out to see the side-by-side comparison of the area before and after the storm here.

Here's more from NASA as background on the storm and its classification:

Known as a “derecho,” the storm combined intense lightning and rain with hurricane-force winds that were upwards of 60 miles per hour (~96.5 kilometers per hour). It killed 22 people and caused some 4.3 million households to lose power for days.

Derecho is the Spanish word for straight and the storm raced from west of Chicago across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

According to the National Weather Service, the gigantic windstorms of a derecho are as powerful as tornadoes, but the winds don’t twist, instead driving in a straight line. To be classified as a derecho, the swath of wind damage must extend more than 240 miles and the storms are powered by hot, humid weather.

Thousands of utility workers kept at the power problem in the Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and other states over the Fourth of July holiday as many residents were still without power. According to the Washington Post, many Independence Day celebrations were canceled in areas affected by the storm in order to have police and firefighters free to help with storm-related clean-up.

MSNBC reports that as of early Thursday, more than 250,000 in the mid-Atlantic region are now in their sixth day without electricity.

(H/T: io9)

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