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This GIF Shows Just How Much More Powerful Hurricane Irma Is Than Hurricane Andrew

Hurricane Irma Barrels Into Puerto RicoHurricane Irma Barrels Into Puerto Rico
Irma made landfall as a Category 4.Jose Jimenez - Getty Images

Hurricane Irma is so massive in its scope that it’s already propagated a slew of viral Internet hoaxes. But one way to gauge its potential damage in Florida and a number of other states where it could potentially make landfall later this week, according to the National Weather Service, is to compare it to other historic storms. And one simple GIF highlights exactly how dangerous it could be.

The Hurricane Tracker App social media account shared a to-scale image of Hurricane Irma Thursday, composed by Twitter user Joel Nihlean. He juxtaposed satellite imagery posted by meteorologist and Grist writer Eric Holthaus comparing 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, the last Category 5 hurricane to directly hit Florida, with Irma. In the image below, Andrew is on the left; Irma is on the right.

Credit: Joel Nihlean

The far more compact Hurricane Andrew was still powerful enough to force Florida to completely re-evaluate how it deals with such tempests.

Irma was classified as a Category 5 hurricane on Monday, and after lashing against Puerto Rico and other Virgin and Caribbean islands, its winds lessened from 185 to 180 mph. It’s still “extremely dangerous,” according to the National Hurricane Center. Already, it’s leveled Barbuda and destroyed the famous Juliana International Airport on the Island of St. Martin in the Caribbean. What’s worse, after last week’s Hurricane Harvey, there are three major storms concurrently raging in the Atlantic, including Hurricane Jose and tropical storm Katia—and FEMA is reportedly running out of money.

You can track the latest information about Irma on