Google Adds Hurricane Sandy Images of Destruction of N.Y., N.J.

Google has updated its aerial photographs of New Jersey, New York and other areas hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. The powerful images can be viewed in Google Earth or in the Crisis Response Map for the region.

Google has quickly posted new aerial photographs of the shoreline areas along the East Coast that were decimated by Hurricane Sandy from Oct. 28 to Oct. 30, including hard-hit areas in New Jersey and New York.

The images are available on Google's Hurricane Sandy Crisis Response Map that was created for the storm, or by downloading the images through Google Earth.

The photographs can be seen on the Crisis Response Map by selecting the Post-Sandy imagery box, which will load the photos into the map, and then dragging the cursor across the map to select an area to view. You can also zoom in or out on the images to find a specific address, or use the "Enter a Location" search box at the top left of the screen to pinpoint a location on the map.

The powerful photographs show some of the surreal destruction along the beaches, including homes and businesses that suffered minor to major damage and destruction to roads that are filled with sand or broken up into debris.

Viewers can also select specific areas to peruse by checking the boxes on the right side of the Crisis Response Map, including Yonkers to Hoffman Island, N.Y.; South Amboy to Barnegat Light, N.J.; Spring Lake to Harvey Cedars, N.J.; Beach Haven to Cape May, N.J.; and Brigantine to West Cape May, N.J.

Also available for viewing are Little Assawoman Bay, Del., to Assateague Island, Md., as well as Fisherman's Inlet, Va., to Currituck, N.C.

A Google Crisis Response map for the New York City metropolitan area is also available that displays the heavy destruction that occurred in large parts of the area.

Viewing the images using Google Earth can now be done with the latest edition of the service, Google Earth 7, which was released Oct. 31.

The Google Crisis Map for Hurricane Sandy was created Oct. 25 as a way for residents, emergency workers, first responders, law-enforcement agencies and utility company personnel to be able to track the storm and get the latest information and updates about its progress.

Hurricane Sandy wracked the East Coast after blasting through the Caribbean, packing heavy rains and winds of up to 80 mph. The map also included layers to provide information about weather forecasts and public alerts with emergency information such as evacuation routes. Also available are information layers for traffic conditions, active emergency shelters, disaster recovery centers, storm-surge zones and catalogs of YouTube videos that have been shot and uploaded to show the effects of the storm.

The layers can be added or removed by map visitors to customize the information they can receive about the progress of the storm, which is expected to dump plenty of rain—and even possibly some snow—across the Eastern U.S. Utility companies are preparing for lots of downed power lines, service outages and large cleanup bills, according to reports.

Google's Crisis Maps come from the company's philanthropic division, which last January began a Public Alerts Website to offer important emergency information on storms, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters and crises. The alerts will tell users what's happening and when, the severity of the disaster and where to go for help.

As the hurricane approached, Google integrated the Public Alerts services so they now appear automatically in Google Search, Google Maps and into its Android Maps and Google Now apps on devices running Jelly Bean.

In August, Google published a Crisis Response map for Tropical Storm Isaac as it approached the U.S. Gulf Coast, and another for massive flooding that occurred in the Philippines following a monsoon. Google also created such maps after earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in 2010, after the tsunami and earthquake in Japan in 2011, and after the BP oil spill in the Gulf in 2010 and Hurricane Irene in the U.S. in 2011.

Google also recently updated its public alerts to include tsunami data for the U.S. and Canada. Additional areas will be rolled out in the future, according to the company.