OUTER SPACE -- The safest view of Hurricane Florence is from way, way up above.

Try the International Space Station for full measure: Its crew captured a memorizing yet frightening view of the monster Category 4 hurricane Wednesday morning.

Track major Hurricane Florence: Spaghetti models, forecast cone and satellite

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Upon approach, you can see the storm's outer bands. They are the ring of clouds that surround Florence.

Then comes complete whiteness. The bright sun reflects off the cotton-looking waves but underneath, it's a total tempest. Tropical-storm-force winds of 39 mph or greater swirl underneath these parts, creating waves as tall as buildings.

Florence's massive eyewall is next. Underneath these bubbling thunderstorms is the worst weather on Earth. The storm's maximum sustained winds howl to around 130 mph, with even higher gusts. There are very few objects that could stand up to that amount of force.

And in the center, the eye. The ocean below is reaching unimaginable heights, but if you were sitting in its center, there'd be little to no wind. You could look up and see blue sky. Or from down below the space station, the blue Atlantic.

All is calm until its eyewall passes over once again.

Hurricane Florence is a potentially catastrophic storm for those in its path. Once it makes its expected landfall along the Carolina coastline, National Hurricane Center meteorologists expect to sit and meander for days, dumping rainfall to be measured in the feet.

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