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Super Typhoon Nepartak Spied from Space (Photos)

Super Typhoon Nepartak: View of NASA's Terra Satellite
The MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nepartak approaching Taiwan on July 6 at 10:30 p.m. EDT (0230 GMT on July 7).
(Image: © NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response/Jeff Schmaltz)

New satellite photos show the size and power of Super Typhoon Nepartak, which is churning toward landfall in Taiwan later today (July 8).

Nepartak's central eye and swirling bands of surrounding thunderstorms are clearly visible in a photo taken by NASA's Terra satellite late Wednesday night (July 6).

And the extent and structure of these thunderstorms are highlighted in another image, this one a close-up photo captured early this morning (July 7) in infrared and visible light by the Suomi NPP spacecraft, which is jointly operated by NASA, the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Department of Defense.

As of this morning, Super Typhoon Nepartak had maximum sustained wind speeds of 161 mph (140 knots), with gusts up to 196 mph (170 knots), according to an update from the U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JWTC).

The storm is expected to hit Taiwan tonight around 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT on July 8), move southeast-to-northwest across the island, and then slam into the Chinese mainland about 8 p.m. EDT on Friday (July 8; 0000 GMT on July 9), NASA officials said.

The VIIRS instrument aboard NASA-NOAA-DOD's Suomi NPP satellite captured a close-up image of Super Typhoon Nepartak's eye surrounded by powerful thunderstorms.
(Image credit: NOAA/NASA/DOD)

Nepartak should run out of steam shortly after making this second landfall, experts have said.

To learn more about Nepartak's approach to Taiwan, and the possible impacts to the island and its people, visit Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau site here: http://www.cwb.gov.tw/V7e/

Powerful storms such as Nepartak are called hurricanes in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific regions, typhoons in the North Pacific and cyclones throughout the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

The JWTC classifies typhoons with maximum sustained wind speeds of 150 mph (130 knots) or greater as "super typhoons" — the equivalent of a Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

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