Hurricane Matthew sets quite a scene for astronauts

7 Oct 2016

Hurricane Matthew. Image Credit: NASA

As Hurricane Matthew makes its way from the Caribbean Sea towards the Floridian coast, the crew aboard the International Space Station caught a stunning image of the storm from above.

The International Space Station (ISS) has tracked Hurricane Matthew since it was promoted from tropical storm status earlier this week.

The video and imagery that the ISS is sending down is helping experts on the ground better prepare for what is expected to be a devastating few days in the US.

Hurricane Matthew

Most of the Caribbean has been hit hard, with lives lost and a growing number of authorities warning people to evacuate areas where Matthew is expected to strike.

Flight engineer Kate Rubins captured this image on 4 October, with the hurricane’s clouds extending across the frame as the space station’s solar arrays emerge on the right-hand-side of the picture.

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew (click for larger file). Image Credit: NASA

As the hurricane strengthens and approaches the coast of Florida, NASA and NOAA satellites continue to provide forecasters and scientists with valuable data on the development and changes within the storm.

Aon has reported that September was a particularly expensive month in terms of weather events, with the cost of Hurricane Wilma (US) amounting to $4bn and others such as Super Typhoon Meranti (China) also impacting greatly on the global economy.

“After more than a decade without a landfalling hurricane, Hermine has highlighted the potential risks faced by the state of Florida,” said Adam Podlaha, global head of impact forecasting at Aon.

Hermine claimed at least three lives as flooding and high winds caused widespread damage. Hundreds of thousands of power outages occurred in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, with additional disruption and minor damage reported in New York and New Jersey.

A weakened Super Typhoon Meranti made landfall in China’s Fujian province, after first grazing southern Taiwan and the northern Philippines province of Batanes. At least 44 people were killed and dozens more were injured, as more than 70,000 homes and vast cropland was damaged or completely destroyed.

Other notable tropical cyclones during September included Typhoon Megi, Typhoon Malakas and Hurricane Newton.

Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since 2005, with Aon’s figures on weather events coming before Matthew is taken into consideration.

October will prove even more costly.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic