September 10, 2018 8:26 AM EDT

As Hurricane Florence bears down on the U.S. east coast, weather satellites are monitoring its strength and speed, as well as recording some incredible images of the massive storm.

A satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Florence still some distance away from the U.S. east coast. However, the National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence is on track to hit the area around North and South Carolina by Friday, and forecasters warned the storm could be “life threatening” by the time it strikes.

The NOAA also released a “mesmerizing loop” showing Hurricane Florence from space. It said the storm, currently brewing above the Atlantic Ocean, had weakened to Category 1 strength, but is expected to strengthen into a Category 3 hurricane by the time it makes landfall on the U.S. mainland.

If and when Florence makes landfall, it’ll be the first major Atlantic hurricane of the 2018 season to hit the mainland U.S.

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