Kennedy Space Center Braces For Hurricane Matthew

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Hurricane Matthew, one of the most powerful storms to hit Florida’s Space Coast in the last 50 years, is expected to pummel the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Thursday night and into Friday. “Kennedy Space Center is now in HurrCon 1 status, meaning a hurricane is imminent. Hurricane preparations at Kennedy were completed early last night, and remaining employees were then sent home,” NASA spokesman George Diller said in a blog post today. CBS News reports: The National Hurricane Center is predicting heavy rain, dangerous storm surges and winds gusting up to 140 mph along Florida’s east coast with the eye passing just off shore or directly over Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. Satellite observations of Matthew show the hurricane features “a distinct eye surrounded by very deep convection,” the National Hurricane Center reported in its 11 a.m. EDT update. “Data from an Air Force reconnaissance plane traversing the eye of the hurricane also indicate that Matthew has strengthened. Members of a 139-member “rideout” team will be stationed at various facilities across the space center to monitor critical systems “and report any significant events” to emergency operations personnel in the Complex 39 Launch Control Center where space shuttle launchings were once managed. “After the hurricane has passed, and winds have dropped below 50 knots, areas around KSC will be assessed and the damage assessment and recovery team will report for duty,” said Diller. You can view satellite images of the storm here.

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