Spaceflight Insider

International Space Station captures dramatic views of Hurricane Florence

Aboard the International Space Station, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, a member of the six-person Expedition 56 crew, captured this view of Hurricane Florence as it continued to track toward the East Coast of the United States. Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

Aboard the International Space Station, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, a member of the six-person Expedition 56 crew, captured this view of Hurricane Florence as it continued to track toward the East Coast of the United States. Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

Hurricane Florence continues to hone in on the U.S. East Coast at the Carolinas and could become the most damaging tropical cyclone to make landfall in that area in decades.

Some 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth, the ISS periodically passes over the area. Cameras on the exterior, as well as the Expedition 56 crew aboard, have recorded the massive 200-mile (320-kilometer) wide storm as it churns in the Atlantic southwest of Bermuda.

“Watch out, America!” Tweeted Expedition 56 Flight Engineer and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst Sept. 12 from the International Space Station. “[Hurricane Florence] is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens from the [ISS], 400 km directly above the eye. Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you.”

Aboard the International Space Station, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, a member of the six-person Expedition 56 crew, captured this view of Hurricane Florence as it continued to track toward the East Coast of the United States. Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

Hurricane Florence directly below the International Space Station. Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

The eye of Hurricane Florence. Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

The eye of Hurricane Florence. Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

A close-up view of the eye of Hurricane Florence. Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

A close-up view of the eye of Hurricane Florence. Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence begin to approach the East Coast. Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence begin to approach the East Coast. Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

A close-up portion of the preview photo showing just how close Florence is to the East Coast. "This is why the big picture matters, and listening to the official evacuation orders," Gerst Tweeted. "Please stay safe down there!" Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

A close-up portion of the preview photo showing just how close Florence is to the East Coast. “This is why the big picture matters, and listening to the official evacuation orders,” Gerst Tweeted. “Please stay safe down there!” Photo Credit: Alexander Gerst / ESA

An advisory for Hurricane Florence as of 2 p.m. EDT (18:00 GMT) Sept. 12, 2018. Image Credit: National Hurricane Center

An advisory for Hurricane Florence as of 2 p.m. EDT (18:00 GMT) Sept. 12, 2018. Image Credit: National Hurricane Center

As of 2 p.m. EDT (18:00 GMT) Sept. 12, 2018, the National Hurricane Center advisory showed Florence had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (201 kph)—a Category 3 storm. Officials have warned hundreds of miles of coastline from South Carolina to Virginia and more than a million people are under mandatory evacuation warnings.

It was expected that the storm could make landfall as early as Thursday evening, Sept. 13. However, new models have predicted that the center of the storm could stall just off the coast of North Carolina Friday evening before turning southward. Landfall may not occur until Saturday.

However, the size of the storm means large areas of land could experience up to 40 inches (100 centimeters) of rain causing massive flooding as soon as Thursday. According to CNN, this means some coastal areas could get hurricane-force winds for more than 24 hours. A storm surge surge of up to 13 feet (4 meters) is also predicted

Video courtesy of NASA

 

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Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter. His passion for space ignited when he watched Space Shuttle Discovery launch into space Oct. 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized his true calling was communicating to others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content, eventually becoming our managing editor. @TheSpaceWriter

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