American astronaut Randy Bresnik has a unique perspective on Hurricane Irma: He's watching the massive storm march toward Florida from the International Space Station, where he can also see the Caribbean islands already devastated by the storm and the next big storm, Hurricane Jose.
To Bresnik, who commands the space station's three-man Expedition 53 crew, Irma sounds more like a monster than a massive storm. [Hurricane Irma from Space: See the Latest Videos]
"The tentacles of the bow wave of #Irma clawing its way up Florida," Bresnik wrote in a tweet Saturday (Sept. 9) accompanying a photo of Irma from space. You can follow Bresnik, a retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, on Twitter at @AstroKomrade, a nod to his call sign Komrade as a fighter and test pilot.
Bresnik's photos are the latest views of Hurricane Irma from space by astronauts on the International Space Station. The station's other residents — Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli — posted their photos of Irma from orbit last week.
As of 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) today (Sept. 10), Hurricane Irma is a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (210 km/h), according to a National Hurricane Center update. The storm was 20 miles (30 kilometers) east-southeast of Key West, Florida, at the time and has subsequently reached the Florida Keys, according to press reports.
Hurricane Irma has caused at least 25 deaths in the Caribbean as it approached Florida, according to The New York Times. In Florida, more than 300,000 people were without power this morning due to the storm. Hundreds of thousands have been ordered to evacuate from Florida, and the coastal regions of Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina, the Times reported.
In addition to his photo of Hurricane Irma, Bresnik turned his gaze to some of the Caribbean islands the storm has already devastated.
"In #Irma's wake Turks & Caicos, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands," Bresnik wrote of one wide-view photo he took from orbit. [Hurricane Irma in Photos: Latest Views from Space]
Another photo takes a close look at Turks and Caicos.
"The beautiful sands of Turks & Caicos churned up into a kaleidoscope of colors after #Irma," Bresnik wrote. The U.S. Virgin Islands were the next target for Bresnik.
"The US Virgin Islands reeling from #Irma's passage," he wrote.
As Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida, Bresnik is keeping watch on the next major storm in the Atlantic Ocean: Hurricane Jose. Jose is a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph that is passing well north of Puerto Rico today, according to the National Hurricane Center. NHC officials forecast the storm's full strength will stay well out to sea.
"Unfortunately, a tale of two hurricanes …. First #Irma," Bresnik wrote in one photo of hurricanes Irma and Jose together.
Two other photos target the eye of Hurricane Jose as seen by Bresnik from orbit.
"Hurricane #Jose regrettably following a familiar path," Bresnik wrote Saturday in one wide view of the storm.
Bresnik's last photo Saturday got eye to eye with Hurricane Jose.
"The eye of #Jose," Bresnik wrote, "may it veer north and east away from those so affected by Irma's wrath already."