December 3, 2020
Hurricane Iota space views show record-breaking Category 5 monster

Hurricane Iota space views show record-breaking Category 5 monster

The Goes-16 satellite caught this view of Hurricane Iota on Nov. 16.


An Atlantic hurricane season like no other continues as 2020 has delivered a new record-breaking storm. 

Hurricane Iota strengthened into the season’s first Category 5 storm and is heading toward landfall in Nicaragua, where it could cause devastation in a region already reeling from the previous Category 4 Hurricane Eta.  

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is warning of extreme winds, a life-threatening storm surge and flooding across portions of Central America as the storm reaches Nicaragua on Monday night.

Satellites tracking the storm are delivering sobering views from above. The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University shared a GIF of the hurricane and its churning clouds on Monday.

The World Meteorological Organization tweeted an infrared view that highlighted the storm’s swirling center. 

A hurricane must have sustained winds of 157 mph (252 kmh) to qualify as a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a tool for understanding a storm’s potential for destruction. “Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage,” the NHC says.

Meteorologist Philip Klotzbach described Iota as “the latest Atlantic calendar year Category 5 hurricane on record,” and cited a storm known as the Cuba hurricane from Nov. 8, 1932 as the previous record holder.

This has been an unprecedented year that already saw us run out of typical storm names and log the most named storms on record

Scientists are investigating the phenomenon of stronger and wetter storms and looking into possible connections with climate change. If the trend continues, then 2020 may not remain an outlier for long.

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