Hurricane Irma looks like a gigantic electrified beast in an amazing new video captured by an Earth-observing satellite.
The video, which is composed of imagery taken by the GOES-16 satellite, shows countless lightning storms crackling within Hurricane Irma day and night as the monster storm churns its way toward Florida.
The movie condenses more than 80 hours of observations — beginning Monday (Sept. 4) at about 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) — into 49 jaw-dropping seconds. [Hurricane Irma in Photos: Satellite Views of a Monster Storm]
“Of interest in this loop is the lightning within Hurricane Irma itself, particularly around the eye of the storm,” officials with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which operates GOES-16 along with NASA, said in a description of the video.
“Hurricanes don’t often exhibit a great deal of lightning, because their winds are mostly horizontal, not vertical,” the officials added. “So, the vertical churning within storms that generates lightning doesn’t normally happen.”
Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful storms ever to form in the Atlantic Ocean. As of this afternoon (Sept. 8), Irma was a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of around 155 mph (250 km/h).
The storm has battered numerous Caribbean islands, killing at least 23 peopleas of this afternoon, and it’s expected to slam into southern Florida this weekend.