3 for 1: Space Station Eyes Hurricanes Lester, Madeline and Gaston

hurricane lester from ISS
Cameras mounted on the exterior of the International Space Station captured images of Hurricane Lester as it swirled in the sky above the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 30. This tropical storm and Hurricane Madeline are expected to close in on Hawaii in the coming days. (Image credit: NASA)

Cameras mounted on the outside of the International Space Station captured amazing views of three powerful hurricanes as they whisked across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on Aug. 30. 

Hurricane Lester was the first tropical storm spied on by the space station's cameras. The Category 4 storm moved westward across the Pacific Ocean, generating powerful 125-mph (200 km/h) winds. The space station cameras captured jaw-dropping images of thick, stormy clouds swirling around the eye of the hurricane, fueling the storm. 

Views of Hurricane Madeline can be seen following Hurricane Lester in NASA's time-lapse video. Hurricane Madeline was traveling west over the Pacific Ocean, with winds even stronger than those of Lester, at 130 mph (209 km/h). 

Hurricane Madeline was spotted near Hawaii on Aug. 29, generating winds upward of 130 mph (210 km/h). (Image credit: NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team)

"Both storms were on a track that could threaten the big island of Hawaii in the days ahead," NASA officials said in the video description. 

On Monday (Aug. 29), the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured an image of Hurricane Madeline nearing Hawaii. This image showed that the storm's eye extended up to 13 nautical miles (24 kilometers) wide in diameter at the time the photo was taken. Because of this, a hurricane watch was issued for Hawaii County, Hawaii, according to a statement from NASA

With such powerful winds, ocean swells are expected to reach the Hawaiian Islands and could cause damage along the coastline, NASA officials said in the statement.

As for the third hurricane, NASA's time-lapse video shows views of Hurricane Gaston as it traveled over the Atlantic Ocean that same day and created winds of up to 100 mph (160 km/h). 

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Samantha Mathewson
Contributing Writer

Samantha Mathewson joined Space.com as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. When not writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys traveling to new places and taking photos! You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13.