Sky Spies Track Hurricanes Idalia and Franklin’s Ocean Rampage

sky spies track hurricanes idalia and franklin s ocean rampage.jpg Science

In an unprecedented meteorological event, two hurricanes, Idalia and Franklin, are currently looming on either side of Florida, casting a shadow of uncertainty and apprehension over the region. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES-East satellite captured striking visuals of the hurricanes, both of which are moving north in a counter-clockwise motion due to the Coriolis Effect. The time-lapse footage reveals Hurricane Idalia’s transformation from a nebulous storm into the distinctive spiral shape of a mature hurricane.

Hurricane Idalia, which is expected to escalate to a Category 3 hurricane, has already triggered school and airport shutdowns along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The storm is predicted to make landfall on Wednesday (Aug. 30), with the Big Bend region—where Florida’s "panhandle" shape curves southward into the state’s peninsula—being the anticipated point of impact. Meanwhile, Hurricane Franklin, the first major Atlantic hurricane of the 2023 season, is currently a Category 4 storm. It is expected to pose a significant threat to the island territory of Bermuda, while also causing life-threatening surf and rip currents along much of the U.S. East Coast throughout the week.

Hurricanes Idalia and Franklin: A Double Threat for Florida

NOAA’s GOES-East satellite has detected Hurricanes Idalia and Franklin, two powerful storms currently converging on Florida from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The satellite’s footage from August 28 to 29 shows both hurricanes moving north in a counter-clockwise spiral, a behaviour caused by the Coriolis Effect. Of the two, Hurricane Idalia appears to have undergone a significant transformation from an indistinct storm into a more recognizable hurricane pattern.

Idalia’s Impact: Pre-emptive Closures and Warnings

Hurricane Idalia has already begun to disrupt life on Florida’s Gulf Coast, prompting school and airport closures in anticipation of the storm due to make landfall on Wednesday, August 30. The United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts that Idalia could reach Category 3 before hitting the Big Bend, the region where Florida’s panhandle curves southward into the peninsula. The NHC warns of "catastrophic impacts from storm surge" and "life-threatening" conditions along the Florida Gulf Coast. Flooding is also expected throughout greater Florida, southern Georgia, and the eastern Carolinas, with storm surge warnings extending as far north as South Carolina.

An Eye on the Storm: Observations from Space

Even before reaching hurricane status, the approaching storm has affected space missions. The pending Silent Barker/NROL-107 mission, scheduled to launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, has been delayed. From their vantage point aboard the International Space Station, astronauts have been closely observing Hurricane Idalia over the Gulf of Mexico.

Franklin’s Fury: First Major Atlantic Hurricane of the Season

Meanwhile, out in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Franklin threatens Bermuda and the East Coast of the United States with life-threatening surf and rip currents. As the first major Atlantic hurricane of the 2023 season, Franklin is currently categorised as a Category 4 hurricane by the NHC.

Understanding Hurricane Categories

Hurricane categories are determined by a storm’s sustained wind speeds. Category 1 storms feature winds between 74 and 95 mph (119 to 153 kph), Category 2 is 96 to 110 mph (154 to 177 kph), Category 3 is 111 to 129 mph (178 to 208 kph), Category 4 is 130 to 156 mph (209 to 251 kph), and Category 5 is 157 mph (252 kph) or above. Any storm at or above Category 3 is considered a major hurricane. As of August 29, Idalia was upgraded to Category 1, while Franklin has already reached Category 4.


The emergence of Hurricanes Idalia and Franklin highlight the advancing hurricane season and the imminent threat to regions like Florida. While technology allows for advanced warning and preparation, the potential damage and disruption from these storms underscore the ongoing need for research, resilience and effective response strategies in the face of increasingly volatile weather patterns.

Crive - News that matters