Cyclone Percy continued its rampage across the South Pacific on March 1, 2005, after battering the Northern Cook Islands with its powerful 260-kilometer-per-hour wind gusts. This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite at 2:40 a.m. local time on February 28 (00:40 UTC on March 1), shows that the storm now has a clearly defined eye. When the image was taken, Percy had just passed over Pukapuku and Nassau, leaving both in shambles. According to news reports, no structures escaped damage on Nassau and just 10 buildings remain intact in Pukapuku. The storm had sustained winds of 213 kilometers per hour (132 mph) with gusts to 260 kph (160 mph), making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The storm is weakening as it moves south towards the southern Cook Islands and Rarotonga. Percy is the fourth cyclone to strike the Cook Islands in the past four weeks.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. The image is available in additional resolutions.