1943 'surprise' hurricane
No, this photo wasn't taken from a satellite, but it nonetheless highlights the importance of NASA's eyes in the sky. The "surprise" hurricane of 1943 was only a Category 1 storm, but it devastated the Texas coast because people weren't prepared. There were no weather satellites in 1943, and ships' radio signals had been silenced due to U.S. concerns about German U-boats invading the Gulf of Mexico — so there was little warning.
• Lifespan: July 25-28, 1943
• Max. wind speed: 86 mph (Category 1)