With Superstorm Sandy - seeing is believing.
Huffington Post UK's Picture Editor Elliot Wagland has tracked down some astonishing then-and-now pictures of the devastation wrought on areas of the US Coast.
They show how one road was turned into a river, another was blocked completely by a tree and how the clean-up operation involved shifting huge amounts of rubbish.
The storm surge left this New York street near the Con Edison power works looking like a river
They are scenes that are both incredible and heartbreaking - Mother Nature showing just how terribly powerful and cruel she can be.
The statistics associated with Superstorm Sandy, meanwhile, are truly sobering.
Electricity was knocked out for 4.7million people in 15 states, 15,000 flights were cancelled, more than 80 homes were destroyed in a fire in Queens, New York - and sadly 70 people in the US and 70 in the Caribbean lost their lives.
This street in Manhattan's Lower East Side was left blocked by a huge tree
The East Coast was battered by 95mph winds and a 32.5-foot wave was measured surging into New York harbour.
Streets are flooded under the Manhattan Bridge in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, New York
The damage was such that campaigning for the US election was temporarily suspended as the two candidates focussed on comforting a stunned population.
This Staten Island road was strewn with debris after the storm
Sandy was the third major weather event to hit America in the past 18 months, with Hurricane Irene causing 56 deaths in August 2011 and a freak snow storm in October of last year killing 11.