Hurricane Matthew weather maps reveal sinister skull

A creepy satellite photo of deadly storm Hurricane Matthew displays what many are interpreting as a devilish sight.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

As millions brace for a direct or indirect hit from Hurricane Matthew, some people are seeing devilish images emerge from weather maps of the powerful storm.

As of Wednesday morning, 11 deaths have been attributed to the hurricane. Florida's Atlantic coast is bracing for tropical storm conditions by early Thursday, with mandatory evacuations beginning Wednesday in some areas.

But as meteorologists present maps of the storm, eerie images have appeared. On Tuesday, Weather Channel senior meteorologist Stu Ostro shared just such an image as the storm made landfall in Haiti, where it wreaked what the channel called "catastrophic" devastation.

And meteorologist Matt Devitt at WINK News in Fort Myers, Florida, captured a slightly different colored view of the same skull shape during his Tuesday weather report, sharing it on Facebook. It's since been shared more than 140,000 times.

While many found the image sobering, not all were bothered. "This is silliness," Jason Waldman wrote on the WINK News Facebook page. "You see in it what you want. Like clouds. When you see a cloud formation that looks like a skull is that supposed to be your subconscious warning you to watch out for puffy white clouds?? Gimme a break, people."

Skull or no skull, Hurricane Matthew is a serious matter.

The Category 3 storm is expected to strengthen back into a Category 4 as it passes the Bahamas, with estimated 145 mph sustained winds expected. Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned on Wednesday that "the effects will be devastating."