Aerial Photos Are Helping Floridians Respond To Hurricane Michael's Destruction

Residents can see affected streets and homes by zooming in aerial imagery of their neighborhoods, and make plans accordingly.

Many residents of the Florida Panhandle, who were forced to flee their homes in the wake of Hurricane Michael, are wondering what their houses and neighborhoods will look like once they return. Now, an NOAA aircraft is providing people with a way to see the effects of the storm using aerial images.

With debris blocking roads and many parts of the affected cities still considered inaccessible, some locals have been left in the dark about how exactly their homes fared in the wake of the Category 4 hurricane. But a new NOAA website allows residents or family members of those impacted to get a look at specific street or homes by zooming in on aerial imagery of the affected area.


On Thursday, the NOOA'S Remote Sensing Division released the Google Maps-like tool, which provides imagery for approximately 200 miles of the Florida coastline that may have seen damage in the wake of the storm. As MyPanhandle outlines, users simply need to visit the Hurricane Michael link and zoom into the area you're interested. The tool also allows you to type in a specific address for an enhanced look at the area.

According to First Coast News, some far areas of the Panhandle seem to look mostly unaffected on the map. But as you continue to click through images down the coastline, damage becomes more visually apparent in areas west of Panama City.

Below are images of a neighborhood in Mexico Beach, Florida, a town about 20 miles south of Panama City. On the righthand side, you can see the neighborhood as captured by Google Maps prior to Hurricane Michael. On the left is the same neighborhood following the storm.

Aerial photos of Hurricane Michael's effect on Mexico beach
NOAA / Google Maps composite

Another 11 miles south, Port St. Joe  was also particularly hard hit.  Below are two images of a single street in the town, before and after Hurricane Michael.

Aerial photos of Hurricane Michael's effect on Port St. Joe
NOAA / Google Maps composite

Some neighborhoods may not be shown yet, but residents are advised to keep checking as more areas will likely be added in the coming days. The NOAA also provides additional tips for navigating the Emergency Response Imagery Viewer on its site.

As the Florida Panhandle faces the aftermath of the devastating natural disaster, relief efforts are already being launched from across the country. Apple, Google and Disney have each donated $1 million to help rebuild communities damaged in the path of Hurricane Michael. AirBnB is also offering free housing to evacuees looking for temporary lodging in the wake of the storm.

Cover image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images.


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