Upon its landfall, Hurricane Dorian was considered as a Category 5 hurricane, bringing forth the strongest winds in recorded history for the northwestern Bahamas. NASA also took on the liberty to show videos and photos of the storm from the very high vantage point of the International Space Station.
“You can feel the power of the storm when you stare into its eye from above,” NASA astronaut Nick Hague wrote on Twitter while sharing a striking photo of the storm. “Stay safe everyone!”
Earlier last week, NASA also shared jaw-dropping video footage of Dorian last week as it was barreling through the Caribbean.
As Dorian grew bigger and approached the Bahamas on Monday., the storm was hard to miss especially to astronauts looking down on Earth from the ISS.
“Zoom into tropical storm Dorian,” Parmitano wrote on Twitter Sunday (Sept. 1) while sharing the photos from the station, where he serves as part of the Expedition 60 crew.
Another astronaut and also an engineer for NASA shared photos of Hurricane Dorian from space on Monday. Christina Koch uploaded four photos depicting the horrifying size of Dorian.
Notably, this is Koch’s first time aboard the space station and she went on to share some of the photos she took on Twitter, saying that she is “hoping everyone in its path stays safe.”
The hurricane is currently stalled over Grand Bahama Island in the northern Bahamas, where meteorologists predict it will remain for much of today (Sept. 2).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center (NHC) is calling Dorian as “extremely dangerous.” Despite the Category 5 classification from its strong winds, scientists are also warning about the heavy rainfall and storm surges the hurricane is causing.
Grand Bahama Island could see storm surges between 18 and 23 feet (5.5 to 7 meters) higher than typical tide levels, according to the NHC forecast.
Current rainfall predictions suggest Dorian could drop 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain along the Florida coast and 5 to 10 inches (12.5 to 25 cm) along the Carolinas.
So far, at least five people have suffered hurricane-related deaths and there have been more than 20 reported injuries.
Though expected to slow down, the NHC is currently forecasting that the storm will hug the east coast of the U.S.
If this prediction proves correct, Hurricane Dorian will travel northward along Florida’s coast through Wednesday (Sept. 4). In light of the forecast, NASA’s Florida Space Coast including the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force is on high alert for potential damage.
“On this track, the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island into Tuesday morning,” NHC officials wrote in their update. “The hurricane will then move dangerously close to the Florida east coast late Tuesday through Wednesday evening, very near the Georgia and South Carolina coasts Wednesday night and Thursday, and near or over the North Carolina coast late Thursday and Friday.”
On Monday, the space center called in a skeleton crew of 120 workers, called a “Ride Out Team,” to monitor the storm’s effects on the spaceport and protect spaceflight hardware from damage. The team will oversee the space center during Hurricane Dorian from the Launch Control Center near the Pad 39 launch complex.
Additionally, aside from the government space facilities, the San Francisco Space Coast also hosts the SpaceX facility at Launch Pad 39A and the United Launch Alliance’s pad at Launch Complex 41 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Photos uploaded by the space center’s official Twitter account showed that some employees will be camping in the facility as Dorian makes it approach.
Meanwhile, the skeleton crew will not be alone in the facility as the space center will also be crewed by a contingent from the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, based at the nearby Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
KSC was referring to Brig. Gen. Douglas Schiess, who has commanded the 45th Space Wing for the last year.
If you live along Hurricane Dorian’s path, visit the NHC and your local National Weather Service office for the latest forecasts. You can find the latest updates on Dorian from the NHC here.