A Hurricane 5,000 Miles Across

Here in Cancun we recently marked the 1-year anniversary of Hurricane Wilma. Hurricane Wilma was the most powerful storm on record to come out of the Atlantic Basin. At its peak Wilma had maximum sustained winds of 175 mph (though thankfully they slowed before it hit us here), and its hurricane force winds extended out 85 miles from the eye. It also had the lowest central pressure ever recorded in an Atlantic hurricane, at 882 mb.

It turns out that the Cassini spacecraft has recently recorded images of a huge “hurricane-like” storm which is stationary over the south pole of Saturn. This storm makes Wilma look like a little dust-devil. The winds in this storm on Saturn are moving at 350 mph (550 km/h) and the storm is between 2 and 5 times taller than any earthly storm. But to me the amazing thing is that this storm is 5000 miles across (8000 km). I just can’t fathom a storm that big, especially not one moving that fast.

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