This is super typhoon Soudelor, captured by NASA instruments as it attained Category Five status on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale earlier today. Its eye is 12 nautical miles wide; its winds are up to 161 miles per hour; and the extremely rough waves below it are up to 48 feet high.
According to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center:
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast takes Soudelor on a west-northwesterly path near the Japanese island of Ishigakijima on August 7 and then over northern Taiwan before making landfall in southeastern China on August 8.
The storm is predicted to weaken as it continues on its trek to the west-northwest. Interests in the path of this Super typhoon should prepare for storm surge, heavy rainfall, mudslides in high terrain areas, and typhoon-force winds.
Image credits: NASA Goddard’s MODIS Rapid Response Team