Hurricane Irma is carving her destructive path through the northern Caribbean. As the storm moves relentlessly on towards the Bahamas, speculation has already started whether Irma may be the first hurricane to be classified as a Cat 6 – or the last huge Cat 5 before the new category is introduced.

The standard SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE only goes up to 5. But for exceptional storms with wind speeds exceeding a suggested 180 mph (and these are increasing worldwide), it is becoming clear that re-categorisation is called for. As with luxury hotels, 5 stars has become inadequate to describe the magnitude**.

There’s nothing to be gained from showing images of the havoc and misery already caused by Irma. TV media, print media and social media are covering that base more than adequately. So instead let’s look at the other side of the hurricane as the serene white cloud mass whirls inexorably westwards – the view from the International Space Station ISS.


The NASA site is a treasure trove of wonderful images, many of which can be downloaded. Here are a few of these, taken over the last 48 hours. There’s an extraordinary video of an ISS pass over Irma yesterday, and I have taken a few screenshots from it for those who may not have the time right now to watch the footage.


Finally, here is a link to a live tracker that I have already posted on my FB page. This amazing resource shows vital information in 3 ways: a realtime view of Irma’s current position; the future tracking over the next few days; and realtime notes. As far as I can make out, the main image modelling means that the predicted path changes seamlessly as the storm progresses. It may be the most useful tool for Abaco / Bahamas predictions right now, because you won’t need to keep checking NOAA, Wunderground, Accuweather and the rest to look at the ‘cone’ movements. Just tune in to this. If you do, I’d be interested to hear how helpful people think it is. I’m testing it too and comparing it with other sources.

**Frankly I’d be as likely to want to be in a 6-star hotel as in a Cat 6 storm. Which is to say, not at all

NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite flew over Irma at 1:54 a.m. AST Sept. 5, 2017, when it was still a Category 4 hurricane. Night-time images showed a well-defined eye with convection most of the way around it. Both the infrared and Day-Night Band both show tropospheric gravity waves. Think of them the waves generated if you dropped a rock into a pond, but in this case it is convection punching upward.
Credits: NASA/NOAA/UWM/CIMSS/William Straka III

Credits: main photos & space station footage: ISS / NASA; Live tracker from NotableMedia; collage NASA / NOAA & as credited


  1. Extraordinarypost and so much to learn about hurricanes here… They think Irma will hit Miami in the next days. Blessings and finger crossed to all the Latin Community there and everyone in general … Thanks for sharing . Hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts – and for your other research trips to Rolling Harbour that I have noted! In Aquileana terms, there’s much in the extreme dramas of classical mythology to compare with the wrath of ‘Goddess Irma’… RH


  2. Hi, Very interesting…thanks for the link to the live tracking…yes, we have been constantly checking NOAA, Wunderground, etc … what area of the island is your property? We are somewhat new to Abaco…built a house near Cherokee a few years ago…Watching Bay…I enjoy reading your posts… Thanks…. Susan Gould

    On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 10:40 AM, ROLLING HARBOUR ABACO wrote:

    > Rolling Harbour posted: ” HURRICANE IRMA: THE STRANGE BEAUTY UNLEASHING > CRUEL SAVAGERY Hurricane Irma is carving her destructive path through the > northern Caribbean. As the storm moves relentlessly on towards the Bahamas, > speculation has already started whether Irma may be the ” >


    • Hi Susan, thanks for the comment. Glad you found the link useful – I’ve only just come across it, and it seems excellent. Glad you enjoy the posts as well, of course. Watching Bay is quite a good place to spot rare piping plovers (tiny gray shorebirds). If you spot any please let me know!!!! My Abaco link is the Delphi Club (currently closed for the hurricane season, and no wonder). Best of luck over the next few days. RH


  3. The beauty is evident especially to people living far far away from this beast’s claws [like me -as an artist even more] – however, a beast’s a beast and an angry one at that, so please please -again- be safe! 🙂 May she pass quickly…

    Liked by 1 person


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