Roughly an hour before this image was captured at 1:50 p.m. Central Daylight Time on September 10, 2008, Ike was a Category 2 hurricane according to the National Hurricane Center. Ike was a large storm, and at the time of this image it was affecting three nations: Cuba, the United States, and Mexico.
Ike was a Category 4 storm before its passage over Cuba stripped it of some of its power. It re-emerged in the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 1 storm and re-strengthened. As of September 11, forecasters were warning that Ike might reach Category 3 strength in the warm waters of the Gulf prior to its projected landfall on the central Texas coastline.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.
Between the last week of August and the first week of September 2008, the Atlantic Ocean queued up a series of tropical storms. Ike became a large storm that raked over Cuba and targeted the Texas coast.
As Hurricane Ike battered Cuba on September 8, 2008, the rugged island punched back. Rainfall rates dropped dramatically as the storm crossed the island, losing power from a Category 4 to Category 2 hurricane.
Ike had sustained winds of 165 kilometer per hour (105 miles per hour) with stronger gusts about the time this image was taken. Despite the strong winds, the real danger associated with Ike was coastal flooding and large, damaging waves.