06/11/2012 17:18 GMT

Computer Animation Shows Explosive Development Of Superstorm Sandy

Using 800 infrared images scientists have produced an amazing computer animation that shows the incredible development of Hurricane Sandy – and its unusual track.

Matt Shatley, computer research specialist at the University of Delaware, assembled the sequence by digitally stitching together the images taken by GOES, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, which keeps a continuous eye on the continental United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

The animation represents the period from 22 October to 31 October.

“Because the satellite is stationary, it’s allows us to receive a constant stream of data and observe changes over the same geographic area,” Shatley says, crediting UD geography professor and Delaware State Climatologist Daniel Leathers with the idea to create the animation.


Superstorm Sandy: Then And Now Pictures Show Devastation

It took Shatley about a day to put the animation together.

“Once Sandy moved along the coast of the United States, it began to interact with a strong upper-level jet stream causing it to become a hybrid tropical/extratropical storm,” Leathers notes. “As it moved over the waters of the Gulf Stream, Sandy continued to have tropical characteristics, as thunderstorms once again began to grow around the eye.

In the end, this hybrid nature is what caused the storm to be so strong and so large.”

The statistics associated with Superstorm Sandy 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.