Sometimes hurricanes wreak havoc. But mostly they just get chance to wink before they are chopped to bits.

That’s what Hurricane Imelda did the other day in the Indian Ocean. She formed an eye on April 14, peeped out at the sky where NASA’a Aqua satellite was passing by. Then an eyelid of clouds blew over the eye on April 15. Imelda’s maximum sustained winds were about 75 miles per hour (120 km per hour) that day. She was a bona fide hurricane.

Sandy Retired From Hurricane Names

But the same winds that were blowing over her eye on April 15 were also shearing her head off. Below, Imelda had also moved over some of the southern Indian Ocean’s cooler waters, which cut off the storm’s power supply, sort of like lopping off the hurricane’s feet. So Imelda was hit high and low.

Before Imelda could open her eye again, she began to fall apart. As of April 16 she’s just a tropical cyclone with winds of about 35 miles per hour (55 km per hour).

Perhaps a better title to this post might have been: How to Kill a Hurricane.

Images: Hurricane Imelda (NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team)