The National Hurricane Center described the storm’s appearance Tuesday morning as both “spectacular” and “extremely impressive.” Since then, through Wednesday afternoon, the storm has maintained its incredible intensity and presentation – sustaining winds of 180 miles per hour or more for longer than any hurricane on record in the Atlantic.
It has all of the textbook features of an extreme hurricane. The storm is almost perfectly symmetric with a clear eye. Towering thunderstorms wrap around the calm center, tilting outward with altitude — a phenomenon known as the “stadium effect.” And then orbiting the eye are small swirls known as meso-vortices.
Below are some of the most visually stunning views of the storm reaching such rare strength, from zoomed out to close-in perspectives: