Hurricane Frances in the Atlantic
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Hurricane Frances in the Atlantic

September 1, 2004
A quickly strengthening Hurricane Frances barrels toward the Caribbean in this true-color Aqua MODIS image from August 27, 2004. Shown here as a Category 2 storm with winds of 90 knots (103 miles per hour), Frances quickly gained strength, vaulting into Category 4 with winds of 115 knots (1 knot = 1.1.5 mph) within 30 hours. Frances is expected to continue strengthening over the next 72 hours, and could very well become the first Category 5 storm in this Atlantic hurricane season. According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale, a category four hurricane does extensive damage to small residences, completely destroys mobile homes, and does major damage to the lower floors of buildings near the shore. Flooding is common in areas lower than ten feet above sea level, and as far in as 6 miles from shore.

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