Dramatic footage captured from the International Space Station (ISS) this afternoon (Oct. 6) shows powerful Hurricane Matthew preparing to slam into the southeastern United States.
At about 4:45 p.m. EDT (1845 GMT) today, cameras aboard the ISS recorded video of Hurricane Matthew rumbling toward the Atlantic coast of Florida, which the storm is expected to hit in earnest for the first time tonight.
As of 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GTM) today, Matthew was a Category 4 hurricane — the second-most powerful type — with maximum sustained wind speeds of around 140 mph (225 km/h), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC). (Category 5 hurricanes, the strongest type, have max wind speeds topping 157 mph, or 253 km/h.)
The storm was about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east-southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida, and was moving northwest at about 14 mph (23 km/h), according to the NHC's latest update.
Hurricane Matthew has already left a trail of wreckage in the Caribbean, killing more than 100 people as it churned through Haiti and the Bahamas. And things will probably remain bad when the storm reaches the United States; the NHC update warned of "potentially disastrous impacts for Florida," and President Barack Obama has already declared a state of emergency in the state.
"The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline," the NHC update said. "There is a danger of life-threatening inundation during the next 36 hours along the Florida east coast, the Georgia coast and the South Carolina coast, from Deerfield Beach, Florida, to South Santee River, South Carolina."
NASA has already closed Kennedy Space Center, which is located on central Florida's Atlantic coast, east of Orlando.
To get the latest information about Hurricane Matthew and its potential impacts, keep checking back with the NHC's Matthew page here: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/#MATTHEW
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Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.