NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Tropical Cyclone Erica (22P), satellite image, on 13 March 2003. North is at top. Erica peaked as a powerful Category 5 cyclone on 12 March 2003. One day later it hit the French Pacific island of New Caledonia. The eye of the cyclone (surrounded by swirls of dense clouds) is seen north-west of New Caledonia, moving to the south. It devastated the western coast of the island, destroying houses, power lines and trees, with winds speeds up to 250 kilometres an hour. At least two people died, and many were injured and left homeless. A cyclone is a large rotating storm system, forming from strong evaporation over warm tropical waters. Image from the MODIS sensor on NASA's Terra satellite.
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