Megapixels: Hurricane Florence races the sun to reach the East Coast in this epic satellite photo

The storm made landfall early Friday morning.

Hurricane Florence crept onto the east coast of North Carolina this morning, just after daybreak. All eyes are on the Carolinas today, and the National Oceanic and Air Administration (NOAA) is no exception.

It snapped this composite picture at 7:45 a.m. Eastern Time using GOES-East, one of three geostationary satellites that rotate in tandem with the continental U.S. and constantly monitor its weather. The day side captures more or less the colors your eye would see from 20,000 miles up into space, while the night side combines real-time infrared imagery for clouds with a database of past flyovers from a different satellite for city lights.

As of 2 p.m. today, Florence was spinning with winds of up to 75 miles per hour near its center and crawling west at the speed of a light jog, according to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. This plodding pace is why experts expect such deadly damage from Florence, rather than its wind speed. Forecasters worry the storm will hover over the Carolinas for days, inundating them with relentless rain and flooding similar to the situation with Hurricane Harvey last year.

For those who find themselves under that white blanket: stay sheltered, and stay safe.

Charlie Wood
Charlie Wood

Charlie is a journalist covering developments in the physical sciences both on and off the planet. In addition to Popular Science, his work has appeared in Quanta Magazine, Scientific American, The Christian Science Monitor, and other publications. Previously, he taught physics and English in Mozambique and Japan, and studied physics at Brown University. You can view his website here.