Haunting skull image of Hurricane Matthew spooks the Internet

A creepy satellite photograph of Hurricane Matthew resembling a skull was posted on Tuesday (Oct 4) by Weather Channel senior meteorologist Stu Ostro.
PHOTO: Stu Ostro/ Twitter

Monster storm Hurricane Matthew now has a monster image to match, after a creepy satellite photo of the storm was posted on Tuesday (Oct 4) by Weather Channel senior meteorologist Stu Ostro as the hurricane made landfall in Haiti.

The foreboding image of the hurricane, resembling a human skull, has taken the Internet by storm, reported CNN.

Seen through an infrared camera lens, the image has been tweaked to show the storm in apocalyptic colours that accentuate the hurricane's eye and make its teeth look like the comic book character Ghost Rider or the Grinch, some Twitter users suggested.

While it might be creepy, the image has its purposes. CNN meteorologist Judson Jones explains that "basically, scientists use colour tables to identify the strongest part of the storm".

In the viral Twitter post, grey, black and red were chosen, reported CNN.

Paul Meyer, an atmospheric scientist at Nasa's Earth Science Office, told CNN that the skull's "teeth" are cold convective clouds.

Hurricane Matthew closes in on Florida after devastating Haiti

  • Some three million people on the US southeast coast faced urgent evacuation Thursday as monstrous Hurricane Matthew - now blamed for more than 100 deaths in Haiti alone - bore down for a direct hit on Florida.
  • Highways in Florida and neighbouring states clogged up with people streaming inland to escape the storm blasting in from the Caribbean, as officials warned people tempted to ride it out they may be risking their lives.
  • President Barack Obama declared a federal state of emergency in Florida as it braced for the ferocious Category Four hurricane, expected to bring beach-eroding waves as tall as two-storey buildings and winds strong enough to snap trees and blow away roofs or entire houses.
  • Poor and vulnerable Haiti remained essentially cut in half two days after Matthew hit.
  • Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph said at least 108 Haitians have died, with 50 killed in a single town and reports of "complete destruction" in the island's south.
  • In its latest target, the storm slammed the Bahamas Thursday, blowing off roofs, downing trees and knocking out power.
  • Weather forecasters working out of Nassau airport had to flee for their lives.
  • According to the forecast track, the hurricane could make landfall in the United States near Cape Canaveral, where NASA's Kennedy Space Center is located, by Friday morning.
  • As US gas stations ran dry, frantic shoppers flocked to stores for essentials.
  • They snapped up batteries, transistor radios, bread, canned goods, bottled water, ice and pet food to gird for what Florida Governor Rick Scott warned would be a devastating, killer storm, with winds howling at up to 150 miles (240 kilometers) per hour.
  • "Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate," he told a news conference. "Time is running out."
  • The region's strongest storm in years, Matthew regained power as it swirled toward the US coast, upgraded a notch to Category Four Thursday by the National Hurricane Center on its 1-5 scale.
  • In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the normally bustling resort turned into a ghost town as tourists loaded up cars, cut short vacations and fled north.
  • "It was packed with people here yesterday and then we came today and it was like 'Oh my God there is nobody here,'" Kelly Allmendinger, a 26-year-old bartender whose family was one of only two left on the eerily deserted beach.
  • Despite the mass flight, officials warned a worrying number of people were not heeding the evacuation
  • "People do not seem to get it and are not leaving," Sheriff William D. Snyder from Martin County, Florida, told NBC News.
  • "I'm not saying this to be theatrical... I asked my captain of detectives if he had body bags, because if we get 140 mile-per-hour winds in mobile home parks, we are going to have fatalities."
  • The fire service in St Augustine, northern Florida, issued a video message on Facebook warning that damage to the city was expected to be "catastrophic" and urging all holdouts to leave.
  • "We as a city are evacuating," said Fire Chief Carlos Aviles. "I cannot emphasise enough: we are encouraging you to leave." "If you are choosing to stay in St Augustine, you are choosing to do so at your own risk. There will be no public safety personnel to assist you."
  • Local residents take shelter at the Pedro Menendez high school in St. Augustine, Florida, on October 6, 2016, ahead of Hurricane Matthew.
  • Some 1.5 million coastal dwellers are under an evacuation order in Florida alone.
  • More than a million others in South Carolina and other coastal states were also told to escape the path of the storm, which first made landfall in Haiti Tuesday.
  • Mandatory evacuations were also ordered in six coastal counties in Georgia that are home to some 520,000 people.
  • People take shelter from Hurricane Matthew at Mainland High School, October 6, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students pass the time by playing cards at public shelter set up at Mainland High School.

This article was first published on October 6, 2016.
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