See the Destruction of New Jersey's Coastline on an Interactive Map

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Aerial photos from NOAA of a devastated state

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Google/NOAA via NOAA's Facebook page

If the ground-level perspective of the post-Sandy New Jersey coastline can break your heart, the aerial view can melt your mind.

A new site from NOAA allows you to navigate along the shoreline, layering and unlayering aerial photography taken by NOAA's National Geodetic Survey following the storm. As you place new images over old, dark sand extends its reach onto roads, roofs disappear, and bright beaches become messy disaster zones. The pictures were taken yesterday during three flights from an average altitude of 7,500 feet.

Here is a shot-by-shot progression of what happens as you gradually shift from a pre- to post-Sandy view taken from above the beach town of Seaside Heights.

For homeowners, local officials, and people whose livelihoods depend on the shore's tourism industry, the images in this tool can help them estimate and plan for losses they may not yet have been able to assess in person. For the rest of us, it's yet another over-the-Internet exhibit of the fury this storm brought.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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