As if you’re not panicked enough about Hurricane Irma, there’s a gif floating around making the situation worse.
On Thursday afternoon, a guy with the Twitter handle @JoelNihlean freaked a lot of people out. Some who weren’t even freaked out at all.
So thanks. We think.
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Nihlean calls himself a “writer, editor, drummer, dad, @UTJSchool grad.” His interests are “politics, policy, punk rock.”
“Take my tweets seriously, but not literally,” he adds on his profile.
Um. We are taking this one tweet seriously.
Jokes aside: Nihlean is actually a graphic designer/journalist by trade. He told The Miami Herald in an email how the viral gif came to be:
With the help of computer models and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES satellite data, the Texas resident combined the images of Hurricane Andrew from 1992 to the Hurricane Irma at a side by side scale in a gif.
“I am not in the weather field,” he wrote. “Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist, posted two separate GOES satellite images of Andrew and Irma, and I was struck my the difference in size — everyone remembers how devastating Andrew was — so I pulled to two images into photoshop to overlay them and align to the shorelines and confirm it for myself.
“Eric was right, Irma is huge by comparison. I created the animation to help give people an easier comparison of Eric’s two satellite images, tweeted it, and it just took off like wildfire from there.”
Safe to say, once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Irma looks like Andrew’s steroided out older brother.
Don’t bother getting your Valium prescription renewed — your GP has already headed for the hills.
“Irma is a damn leviathan,” wrote Nihlean, whose state just experienced the hell of Hurricane Harvey.
The image was later retweeted by Minnesota meteorologist Holthaus; the weather expert later wrote on eco friendly news outlet Grist.org why our Cat 5 storm is such a maniacal monster, and cited Nihlean’s creation that he co-created.
“Not only is Irma more powerful, it’s also much larger: One recent estimate showed that Irma packs more than five times Andrew’s destructive potential. Its hurricane-force winds cover an area roughly the size of Massachusetts.”