Hurricane Matthew, seen from the ISS

Hurricane Matthew, a powerful hurricane that has been wavering between Category 4 and Category 5, is currently heading straight for Haiti, a country still grappling with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake following a prolonged drought, and eastern Cuba, followed by the Bahamas and possibly the southeast US.  Jamaica and the Dominican Republic will be affected to a lesser degree.  Presently, by far the worst impact is expected for Haiti, ironically the country least able to afford it.  Rain is expected to be the main threat.  Years of deforestation have left Haiti with little ability to absorb the 30+ inches of rain that are expected; a great deal of erosion will be expected.

But the hurricane looks quite different from above.  From space, it almost seems benign.  We know what hurricanes really are, though, so seeing that neatly defined eye is not at all encouraging.  (Watch this video through until after the hurricane has left the field of view, and see the same thing from GOES East imagery, where you can see the hurricane develop and move into the Caribbean over a period of days.)

Keep Haiti and Cuba in your thoughts; they may be needing assistance in the near future.  (Note: the US Navy’s base at Guantanamo Bay is in the eastern part of the island, right in the path of the hurricane.  Non-essential personnel have been evacuated; no word on how the remaining detainees on the island will be handled during the hurricane, but most likely everyone left on base will simply be hunkering down for the duration.)


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