After the immense devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina, all eyes were on Hurricane Rita as it passed over the Florida Keys and the Gulf of Mexico. Rita formed from a tropical disturbance east of the Turks and Caicos Islands into a depression (TD #18) on September 17, 2005. The system moved west through the Caicos and strengthened into a tropical storm on the 18th before entering into the southern Bahamas.
Category 2 Hurricane Rita was passing between the Florida Keys and Cuba when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image at 2:35 p.m. Eastern time on September 20, 2005. At the time, Rita had peak sustained winds of 160 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour), with hurricane-strength winds extending well away from the storm’s center, including settlements in the Key Islands and in Cuba’s capital, Havana.
The large image provided above has a resolution of 250 meters per pixel. The image is available in additional resolutions from the MODIS Rapid Response Team.