Tropical Cyclone Winston Seen From Space Reveals Its Fury and Gargantuan Size

PHOTO:NASA captured this photo of Tropical Cyclone Winston from space. PlayJeff Schmaltz/NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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The fury and size of Tropical Cyclone Winston -- a Category 5 storm that slammed into Fiji over the weekend -- was captured in a stunning photo that NASA snapped from space.

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NASA's Aqua satellite snapped a photograph on Sunday at 2:15 a.m. local time, showing the storm and its visible eye in the South Pacific Ocean just west of Fiji.

Winston brought with it 185 mph winds and is believed to be one of the most powerful cyclones to ever hit the South Pacific, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

To put things in scale, the island visible on the western edge of Tropical Cyclone Winston is Vanuatu, which is approximately 700 miles from Fiji. That's about the distance from New York City to Chicago.

Stephen O'Brien, the under-secretary general for the United Nations' Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief coordinator, said in a statement on Monday that the storm had claimed at least 21 lives and had impacted hundreds of thousands of people in the region.

"This cyclone is reportedly the strongest ever to hit the South Pacific," he said. "Whole villages have been destroyed, homes and crops have been damaged, power lines have been cut and more than 8,100 people are currently sheltering in over 70 evacuation centers."

He said Fiji's government is taking the lead in the humanitarian response and has asked for international assistance.