Hurricane Iris hit the small Central American country of Belize around midnight on October 8, 2001. At the time, Iris was the strongest Atlantic hurricane of the season, with sustained winds up to 225 kilometers per hour (140 mph). The hurricane caused severe damagedestroying homes, flooding streets, and leveling treesin coastal towns south of Belize City. In addition, a boat of American recreational scuba divers docked along the coast was capsized by the storm, leaving 20 of the 28 passengers missing. Within hours the winds had subsided to only 56 kph (35 mph), a modest tropical depression, but Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras were still expecting heavy rains.
The above image is a combination of visible and thermal infrared data (for clouds) acquired by a NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-8) on October 8, 2001, at 2:45 p.m., and the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) (for the color of the ground). The three-dimensional view is from the south-southeast (north is towards the upper left). Belize is off the image to the left.
Image courtesy Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC Visualization Analysis Lab