- Copyright: 2016 EUMETSAT
Hurricane Matthew is barreling into southeastern United States as a monster category 3 storm.
Meteorologist Eric Holthaus, in a post for the Pacific Standard on Thursday – when the cyclone was stronger, yet expected to weaken – said “Matthew is a storm unlike any yet seen” in some parts of Florida.
“Since weather records began in 1851, no hurricane of Matthew’s predicted strength (Category 4, with sustained winds of at least 135 mph that the National Hurricane Center labels as ‘catastrophic’) has ever made landfall in Florida north of West Palm Beach,” Holthaus said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hurricane hunters who are flying through the storm, and an international fleet of satellites are keeping close tabs on the situation.
The above image is a composite of several images taken by EUMETSAT weather satellites around 8 a.m. EDT on Friday, October 7, 2016. Because it was taken in the dark, it’s 100% not true-to-life: It’s infrared weather data layered on top of NASA’s “blue marble” satellite images.
The following image is a composite made in daylight by NOAA satellites on Wednesday, October 5. The large size of Matthew compared to nearby landmasses is clear:
- NASA/NOAA GOES Project
NOAA and NASA also provided this close-up image:
- NASA/NOAA GOES Project
And this is an animated sequence showing Matthew’s path from October 5-6:
Astronauts and cosmonauts are also getting a clear view of the storm from the International Space Station, as they fly about 200 miles above it every 90 minutes:
Hurricane hunters who flew through Matthew on Friday morning reported sustained winds of 120 mph and even stronger gusts.
The NOAA said on Friday morning that Matthew is “hugging” onto Florida’s eastern coast and headed for a destructive spree up the shoreline at a speed of about 13 mph.
The most recent computer simulations of the storm suggest it could blow out to sea, loop back, and pummel Florida again with whatever remnants are left.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has also issued a hurricane warning for Georgia’s and much of South Carolina’s coasts:
In a previous public advisory, NOAA said the storm could have “potentially disastrous impacts for Florida.” Areas that bear the brunt of the storm can expect torrential rain, incredibly damaging winds, powerful storm surges, and flooding.
If you live in or around the warning or watch regions highlighted in this map, it is time to evacuate or find safe shelter.
You can keep track of Hurricane Matthew by visiting NOAA’s NHC website.
Note: This story was updated at 9:30am EDT on Friday, October 7, 2016.