Hurricane Michael is plenty frightening all on its own, but a satellite image only adds to the storm’s fear factor.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Goes-East satellite has been following the storm and providing colorful infrared imagery of the monster hurricane. At one point, the center of the storm looked a lot like a human skull.
Jim Dickey, a meteorologist with WZVN in Ft. Myers, Florida, seems to be the first to notice the creepy likeness. He posted a tweet on Tuesday saying, ‘#Michael has that ‘skull’ appearance on IR satellite this morning as the eye is beginning to clear out through the CDO.’
CDO stands for ‘central dense overcast,’ which NOAA describes as ‘the cirrus cloud shield that results from the thunderstorms in the eyewall of a tropical cyclone and its rainbands.’
Hurricane Michael made landfall along the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, bringing with it devastating winds and rain. Thousands of residents are without power. Florida Governor Rick Scott urged those in the storm’s path to shelter in place.
More recent views from NOAA’s satellite don’t bear any resemblance to a human skull, but do show the power of the swirling hurricane as it moves into Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
Hurricane Michael isn’t the first major storm to take on an ominous cast when seen from space. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017 both produced skull-like formations when seen in infrared.