Science

Astronaut takes stunning photos of huge Hurricane Sam from space

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur shared three photos of massive Hurricane Sam seen from the International Space Station, showing the vast clouds and the storm’s distinctive eye.

Fortunately, Hurricane Sam is moving over the Atlantic Ocean without posing much of a threat to people on land. However, the duties of astronauts living and working in orbit include photographing Earth from space, and there is Sam.

“Another hurricane? I don’t like them, Sam I Am,” McArthur wrote in a tweet posted Wednesday (September 29), referencing Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book, “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Related: Hurricane Ida from Space: Astronaut and Satellite Photos

The storm is currently east of Puerto Rico; The current forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center predicts that the hurricane will also pass east of Bermuda early Saturday (October 2), then south of Canada’s Maritime provinces early Monday ( Oct. 4).

Currently, the only threat that the center emphasizes is the risk of large waves in the Atlantic islands and the east coast of North America.

Hurricane Sam, which first formed midway between South America and Africa on September 22, formally became a tropical storm the next day and then rapidly intensified to become a full-blown hurricane.

Currently, the storm maintains winds near 130 mph (215 kph), making it a Category 4 hurricane, although the National Hurricane Center expects that rating to fluctuate a bit as the storm progresses.

Hurricane Sam is the 18th named tropical storm of this year’s hurricane season, which began on June 1 and ends on November 30. There are only three more storm names left on the standard list, but unlike last year when subsequent storms were named with letters from the Greek alphabet, this year there is a second list of more traditional names, starting with Adria and ending with Will.

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur shared a view of Hurricane Sam from the space station on September 29, 2021. (Image credit: NASA)

Although Hurricane Sam poses much less of a threat than some of the other storms this year, such as Grace, Ida and Larry, it speaks to the severity of the overall 2021 hurricane season, which was predicted early on to be particularly difficult.

Hurricanes are just a meteorological phenomenon that shows the impact of increasing carbon emissions in recent decades. Although climate change does not cause specific storms, it increases the frequency of stronger storms by warming the waters that feed hurricanes and increasing the amount of water the air can hold. In addition, factors such as rising sea levels make people more vulnerable to the impacts of any storm.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@ or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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