Watch As NASA's ISS Tracks Three Hurricanes, Hawaii Threatened By Unprecedented Pair Of Storms

Coburn Palmer

On Tuesday, external cameras on the ISS captured time-lapse footage of hurricanes' Lester and Madeline headed for Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean and Gaston in the Atlantic.

Orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes, the space station's orbit 250 feet above ground is the perfect place to view the stormy planet; the ISS captured images of Hurricanes Madeline and Lester as they hovered between Category 3 and 4 storms.

Not only are hurricanes in Hawaii rare, they're almost unheard off. If Madeline strikes the Big Island at hurricane strength it will be the first to hit since record keeping began in 1949. The island of Kaua'i was struck by Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and Iselle and Julio threatened to make landfall in 2014.

Residents are busy boarding up shop windows and snatching up supplies of food and water before the Hurricane makes landfall, as Hawaii resident Mitzi Bettencourt told the Associated Press.

"Hopefully our roofs stay on, and our houses don't float way or get blown away. It's like, 'Oh my God, are we going to get flattened or what?'"

Hermine is expected to hit Florida's Gulf Coast or Panhandle region sometime Thursday at could be hurricane strength.

Meanwhile, a tropical depression 215 miles off the coast of North Carolina is moving into the open ocean away from land and a tropical disturbance is being watched off the coast of Africa

In Hawaii, the governor has declared a state of emergency as residents prepare for the largest storm to hit the island in decades. The Coast Guard has issued orders for boat owners to secure their watercraft and large boats have been encouraged to seek protected marinas.

"We are far from out of the woods. We want to urge our residents to please kokua, take care of one another and stay safe, and let's get through this thing as fast as we can, because from this we've got to then switch our attention to Lester and what Lester may do."
"All interests in the Hawaiian Islands should continue to monitor the progress of Lester, as it is too early to determine what impacts there could be along the island chain given the track forecast uncertainty in the 3 to 5 day period."

Hurricanes are rare in Hawaii, they usually form farther south, but warming ocean waters fueled by climate change could mean the island is in for more hurricanes in the future, meteorologist Bob Henson told LikeTheFuture.

"Usually the waters [along this storm track] are on the edge of what's needed to support hurricanes. Now, they're just warm enough, and it's making a big difference."

[Photo by NASA/AP Images]