Flying salt spray and hurricane-force winds changed the green islands of the Caribbean to brown in Hurricane Irma’s wake, new satellite photos reveal.

The storm hit the Caribbean last week with the full force of its Category 5 winds. Irma devastated islands like Barbuda and St. Martin, and killed at least 33 people.

Now that the clouds are starting to part, it’s possible to see the damage from above with satellites. The contrast before and after the storm is stark, NASA’s Earth Observatory reveals. Islands with verdant landscapes at the end of August were left brown and barren by the hurricane.

Why did the islands turn brown? It’s possible that the hurricane’s winds snatched and tore at the islands’ plant life, leaving the bare ground…

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