VIEW FROM SPACE: Before and After the Cyclone

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May 8, 2008—The cyclone that lashed southern Myanmar (Burma) on May 2 and 3 left massive floodwaters that devastated the region, as seen in a May 5, 2008, image (bottom) by NASA's Terra satellite.

On April 15, 2008 (top photo), the same region was photographed with rivers and streams against a backdrop of green vegetation and tan agricultural land.

The wetlands near the mouth of the Irrawaddy River, shown in deep blue-green, are where Cyclone Nargis first made landfall.

(See photos of the cyclone's aftermath.)

The storm—which packed 150-to-160 mile-an-hour (241-to-267 kilometer-an-hour) gusts—hugged the coastline as it traveled northeast, hitting agricultural lands particularly hard, according to NASA. (Read why the storm was so deadly.)

In the May 5 image, floods have enveloped the country's largest city Yangon (Rangoon), located near the mouth of the Irrawaddy, and muddy runoff gushes into the Gulf of Martaban.

Though floodwaters can be difficult to spot in satellite images—especially when muddy—the Terra satellite used a combination of visible and infrared light to make the waters stand out.

Nearly 100,000 people may have died due to the cyclone, according to recent estimates.

—Christine Dell'Amore

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