Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
The 23rd storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season formed off the coast of Panama late on October 26, 2005. Dubbed ’Beta,’ the storm set a new record for the number of tropical cyclones to form in the Atlantic during a single year, a record that was broken with the formation of four additional cyclones in November and December. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this photo-like image of the hurricane on October 27, the day after the storm formed.
Hurricane Beta came ashore in Nicaragua three days after this image was taken, bringing heavy rainfall in the steep mountains of Nicaragua and Honduras. The hurricane’s Category-2-strength winds weakened to tropical-storm strength quickly after coming ashore, but the heavy rain [more than 450 millimeters (15 inches) fell in 24 hours in parts of Nicaragua] was far more dangerous than the hurricane-force winds. Early in October, a glancing blow from Hurricane Stan triggered landslides across Central America, leaving thousands dead.
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