Hurricane Sandy: Before and after - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Hurricane Sandy: Before and after

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Before (left) and after of Seaside Height Pier, NJ. (USGS photos) Before (left) and after of Seaside Height Pier, NJ. (USGS photos)

The USGS has released a series of aerial photographs showing dramatic before-and-after images of Hurricane Sandy's impacts on the Atlantic Coast's man-made structures and scenic beaches.

The photos, part of a USGS assessment of coastal change from as far south as the Outer Banks of North Carolina to as far north as Massachusetts, show that the storm caused dramatic changes to portions of shoreline extending hundreds of miles.

Pre- and post-storm images of the New Jersey and New York shoreline in particular tell a story of a coastal landscape that was considerably altered by the historic storm, experts say.

"Sandy taught us yet again that not all Cat-1 hurricanes are created equal: the superstorm's enormous fetch over the Atlantic produced storm surge and wave erosion of historic proportions," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "We have seized this opportunity to gather unique data on a major coastline-altering event."

The gallery above shows some of the more dramatic imagery.  In each before-and-after view, the yellow arrow is pointing to the same landmark for a point of reference between the two images.

As major storms approach, the USGS conducts pre-storm and post-storm flights to gather aerial images along the length of the coastline expected to experience impacts from the storm's landfall. Identifying sites of such impacts helps scientists understand which areas are likely to undergo the most severe impacts from future storms, and improves future coastal impact forecasting.

Photo pairs from North Carolina to Massachusetts will be made available online as the coastal change assessment continues.

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