2017 Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria was a Category 5 hurricane that passed directly over Puerto Rico in September of 2017. At the time, it was the 10th most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. Maria's impact to the island's forests was severe. Vast areas experienced extreme canopy damage with even more widespread leaf stripping of trees and shrubs that provided a secondary indicator of the storm's power. Immediately after the event, the HiForM team used Google Earth Engine to understand the seasonal phenology of the island from multi-year MODIS, then we used those insights to constrain a suitable multi-week composited baseline normal and post-event change product at 10 meters resolution. Multi-date composites are important here because of the perpetual problem of cumulus clouds. The maps below reflect our early experimental effort at understanding how cloud computing and seasonal composites can be used for efficiency when developing near-real time assessments.