John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
A satellite capture from Tuesday showed the true scale of the massive weather system.
Anybody who experienced Sandy firsthand knows that it was a big weather system. But they might not have realized that when the storm's east arm was battering the East Coast, its west one was already reaching over to throw punches at Chicago.
The true extent of Sandy can be seen in this image from the Suomi NPP satellite taken early Tuesday morning. The folks behind NOAA's Environmental Visualization Laboratory explain:
This image shows Sandy as imaged by the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP VIIRS instrument's day/night band. This band collects information from the ambient light radiated into space from human settlement and activities and also captures reflected moonlight from cloud structures. The full moon, which enhanced the storm surge that has inundated New York City and Atlantic City because of tidal forces, lit up the cloud tops of the storm in great detail.
The storm has since quieted down, weakening into a innocent surface trough of low pressure over Pennsylvania. But its dissolved carcass is still overshadowing a vast chunk of America's real estate, as you can see in the below GOES East image from this morning (or a video, if you'd prefer):