From high above the Earth in the safety of outer space, satellites from all over the world are busy tracking the progress of Hurricane Matthew as the storm continues to pound the East Coast with devastating wind and torrential rain.
A Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite from the European Space Agency captured a thermal view of Hurricane Matthew as it approached the East Coast Thursday while NASA satellites scanned the storm Saturday.
Saturday, Oct. 8, NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite used infrared instruments to measure the temperature of Hurricane Matthew’s cloud tops. They recorded a minus 80 F temperature, which could indicate a strong uplift in the storm, NASA officials wrote.
“Storms with cloud tops that cold have the ability to generate heavy rain.”
Images captured by NASA satellites showed storm clouds covering the entire East Coast beyond New England.
The hurricane that has killed hundreds in the Caribbean and at least nine in the U.S. soaked North Carolina Wednesday causing widespread damage and leaving hundreds of thousands without power, Gov. Pat McCrory told CNN.
“This has the potential for the worst flooding since Hurricane Floyd. It’s not just about the beaches. It’s (also) inland where we can have loss of life.”
There are some 1.9 million East Coast residents without power as of Saturday evening. Matthew, now a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 75 mph, touched down in South Carolina Saturday morning; it’s expected to weaken to a post-tropical storm by Saturday night, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“Although weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Matthew is expected to remain near hurricane strength while the center is near the coasts of North Carolina.”
The National Weather Service also posted a tornado watch for parts of northeast South Carolina and eastern North Carolina Saturday afternoon.
Hurricane Matthew, which devastated Haiti and killed hundreds was responsible for at least six deaths in Florida and three in North Carolina where experts fear the water level could rise as high as nine feet in some spots.
Charleston County Emergency Medical Services in South Carolina suspended service Saturday and a curfew was imposed in the area between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal ordered mandatory evacuations for residents along the entire Georgia coast, saying he didn’t want to risk first responders to rescue those who refused to evacuate, according to ABC 7 News.
“I don’t intend to prosecute anyone for not leaving. I think Mother Nature will take care of them.”
In Florida, where 1.5 million people were ordered to evacuate, there was widespread damage and “unbelievable” amounts of beach erosion, Gov. Rick Scott told ABC 7 News.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
More than 5,900 people remained stuck in 70 shelters across the state while 500,000 more were in evacuation zones and 763,000 household and businesses suffered without power. The Florida Power and Light Company said service wouldn’t be restored until Sunday night.
Wednesday, as millions of East Coast residents prepared to evacuate their homes ahead of the powerful storm, Rush Limbaugh went on the air and proclaimed hurricane reporting to be part of a liberal plot to continue the global warming myth.
Matt Drudge, of the conservative Drudge Report, repeated the accusation Thursday afternoon and early Friday implying the hurricane might not be as powerful as officials have reported, according to NPR.
“Hurricane Center has monopoly on data. No way of verifying claims. Nassau ground observations DID NOT match statements! 165mph gusts? WHERE?”
Others, including Democratic U.S. Rep Keith Ellison, rebuked Drudge for saying the storm wasn’t dangerous and suggested the conservative host visit Florida himself if he didn’t believe the reports.
In contrast, Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, urged people to stay safe this week and praised Florida Gov. Rick Scott for his leadership.
[Featured Image by Copernicus Sentinel/ESA]