Senior meteorologist Stu Ostro shared a satellite image of Hurricane Matthew on Twitter Tuesday evening and it’s freaking everyone out.
The image shows the eye of Hurricane Matthew as it crosses Haiti’s coast, and it is noted in the tweet that this is a real image, with no edits. Hurricane Matthew is currently a Category 4 storm, with winds around 140 mph. On October 1, it did reach Category 5 with winds at 157+ mph but only briefly.
NBC News reports Hurricane Matthew is the most powerful Atlantic storm in almost a decade. When the hurricane hit Cuba around 8 p.m. ET, it was a Category 4 and had already left devastation in its wake in Haiti.
Here’s infrared satellite imagery of the storm hitting Haiti and Cuba on Tuesday:
This space station view gives you just an idea how powerful Hurricane Matthew is:
Even though Hurricane Matthew has hit land, it doesn’t seem to be weakening. It now holds the record for the longest lasting Category 4-5 storm during the month of October, at 96 hours. For comparison, Mitch and Wilma previously held the record.
Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit the United States soon, and individual states are already preparing. NBC News reports that starting Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, South Carolina’s coast will be evacuated according to Governor Haley’s orders. The coast is home to 1.1 million people and this doesn’t include tourists in the area. She said this at a news conference Tuesday:
“We don’t do voluntary or mandatory. It is an evacuation, our goal is to make sure you get 100 miles away from the coast.”
School buses from other areas are being sent to the coast to support South Carolina’s Hurricane Matthew’s evacuation efforts. The National Guard and 3,700 law enforcement officials will also participate in the efforts.
Computer imaging is predicting that Hurricane Matthew will make landfall on Thursday in Florida, then to Georgia and South Carolina’s coast on Friday and Saturday before moving on to the coast of North Carolina on Sunday. It is unclear at this time how much the storm will weaken in the coming days.
It’s too early to get accurate and complete details of the deaths and injuries that Hurricane Matthew has caused, but so far USA Today reported that there are nine confirmed dead. Matthew is reminding forecasters of Hurricane Felix, which ended up being a Category 5 hurricane and killed 130 people.
The states that will be impacted have declared a state of emergency and they are doing their best to prepare the residents for the destruction that’s coming. Shelters have been set up, grocery store aisles are being cleared, and evacuations are being ordered. No one wants to take any chances when it comes to this storm and it seems like a great effort is being made to make preparations and get people to safety.
Even though Hurricane Matthew has left Haiti for Cuba, Haiti is not out of danger. The biggest danger to its citizens is not the hurricane, but the mudslides and flooding that the hurricane will cause due to the 15 to 25 inches of rain that Hurricane Matthew is expected to cause in the coming days. Many residents live in valleys and other low areas that are prone to flooding, and the impact of all the extra rainfall will be devastating.
Storms at this level of intensity are rare on the Atlantic Coast, but officials seem to be prepared as they set up shelters and plead with people to take the evacuation assistance provided. Hurricane Matthew is the 13th named storm in 2016 and the name will likely be retired because names of powerful storms aren’t recycled and used again in the future for other storms.
[Featured Image by NOAA/Getty Images]