“Before and after’ These two stunning images, taken by astronaut, Randy Bresnik @astrokomrade showing the Turks & Caicos Islands before and after Irma’s passing have been doing the rounds but with out any real explanation. They don’t of course show the devastation on the ground but they do show another side to her power.

To get a sense of scale, the 90 mile wide archipelago is separated by the Turks passage with the Caicos Islands (West, Provo, North, Middle, East and South) on the left and the Turks Islands (Grand Turk and Salt Cay) to the right. Irma was 400-600 miles wide!

Moving from East to West, Irma’s 30-mile wide eye passed directly over the Ambergris Cays (long finger of sand at the bottom) across the full width of the shallow Caicos Banks. What in all likelihood spared #turksandcaicos from certain Barbudian like disaster, was the fact that #hurricaneirma passed about 25 miles south of the islands as she left the Ambergris Cays and moved into deep water right along the very edge of the banks.

If you look closely the scouring / erosion along that southern bank is astounding. 100+ mph North winds, circulating counter clockwise in Irma’s Northwestern quadrant probably almost blew these shallow waters right off the banks! While her feared surge attacked the sides, never reaching land. It’s hard to even imagine what scenes there must have been. Utter chaos.

Meanwhile the light blue strands arced and laced north and west of the islands in the ocean, is actually sand and sediment in suspension. Blasted off beaches and forced between the islands and cays, these particles reflect Irma’s westward movement and over the next few months will sink and settle across the deep ocean as well as the reef.

While the human impact remains at the forefront of our attention, it is going to be fascinating to see what physical changes Irma’s immense power has wrought on the natural habitats of our land and seascapes.

The last time lapse courtesy of @noaasatellites reveals Irma’s incredible march through the Caribbean just before she made Turks and Caicos landfall. Notice all the lightning storms as seen at night. #tcistrong #madeofocean @ Turks and Caicos Islands