An incredible new picture from NASA shows that the storm has a double eye wall.
Hurricane Matthew is already a demonstrably unique storm, but NASA has captured an image of the hurricane that shows just how different it is than most storms: it has a double eye wall. The powerful hurricane is currently lashing the Florida coast, including NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and the agency has been taking a close look at the storm.
Matthew passed offshore of KSC near Orlando, and avoided a direct hit of the facility. NASA says there is some roof damage to KSC facilities, and there is scattered debris, but storm surge has been relatively minimal. The storm had dropped in strength, but was still much too dangerous for officials to inspect the damage.
But it’s the new satellite views that have people talking about this storm. The images show a double eye wall, which only happens with very powerful hurricanes. Eye walls have the most intense thunderstorms and strongest winds and rains, and a second band means a double hammering for areas that have to experience it.
The NASA statement reads: “Hurricane Matthew, currently an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, continues to bear down on the southeastern United States. At 11:23 a.m. PDT (2:23 p.m. EDT and 18:23 UT) today, NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite observed the storm as its eye was passing over the Bahamas. The AIRS false-color infrared image shows that the northeast and southwest quadrants of the storm had the coldest cloud tops, denoting the regions of the storm where the strongest precipitation was occurring at the time. Data from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), another of AIRS’ suite of instruments, indicate that the northeast quadrant, which appears smaller in the infrared image, likely had the most intense rain bands at the time. The AIRS infrared image shows that at the time of the image the storm had full circulation, with a small eye surrounded by a thick eye wall.”