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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Two Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclones

Tropical Cyclone Ivan is a dangerous Category 4 storm headed for a landfall on the island nation of Madagascar. Moving approximately 7 knots WSW, Ivan has sustained winds over 131 MPS (115 kt) with gusts up to 140 knots. Apparently this storm has been growing steadily since February 7th, but since the Indian Ocean is outside of our normal watch area, we just found out about this. Information on the storm is rather limited

Looking at a map of the island, Madagascar is a mountainous island so the threat of mudslides and flooding is a real potential, especially with such a strong storm. Landfall appears to be occurring at the moment and according to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), up to 10 million people may be affected by tropical storm force winds but only 90,000 by hurricane force winds.

Summary from Weather Underground:

Tropical cyclone (tc) 18s (ivan) located approximately 325 nmeast-northeast of
Antananarivo, Madagascar has tracked west-southwestward at 07 knots over the
past 06 hours. Tc 18scontinues to track generally westward along the
northwesternperiphery of a subtropical ridge located south of the storm.The
system is expected to continue tracking along the peripheryof this ridge
throughout the forecast period, turning polewardover central Madagascar after
tau 24. Tc 18s has rapidly inten-sified over the past 06 hours in response to
favorably highocean heat content and excellent, radial upper-level outflowdriven
by a mesoscale anticyclone aloft. The storm is expectedto intensify further
before making landfall between tau 12 andtau 24 and steadily weaken over land
therafter. The currentforecast is in good agreement with the available
numericaltrack and intensity guidance. Maximum significant wave heightat 161200z
is 34 feet. Next warnings at 162100z, 170300z,170900z and 171500z. Refer to
tropical cyclone 19s (nicholas)warnings (wtxs32 pgtw) for six-hourly updates.//

Also in the Indian Ocean is Tropical Cyclone Nicholas, as Category 1 storm tracking southeast towards the northeast coast of Australia. Nicholas is expected to intensify slightly until it begins to interact with land in after 36 to 48 hours.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 19s (nicholas) located approximately 330 nmnortheast
of Learmonth, Australia has tracked south-southwestwardat 07 knots over the past
06 hours. Tc 19s continues to track gen-erally southwestward along the
northwestern periphery of a sub-tropical steering ridge over central Australia.
The storm isexpected to continue southwestward to south-southwestward aroundthe
periphery of the current steering ridge through the forecastperiod. As the
system moves poleward toward the axis of an upperlevel, synoptic-scale
anitcyclone, easterly vertical wind shearis expected to decrease. This
decreasing shear and favorableocean heat content should induce slow
intensification until landinteraction begins between tau 36 and tau 48. After
landfall, thestorm will steadily dissipate. The forecast track is close to
theprevious two forecasts and the model consensus, although the trackhas been
adjusted slightly to the west in response to a change inthe anticipated extent
of the steering ridge. Maximum significantwave height at 161200z is 32 feet.
Next warnings at 162100z,170300z, 170900z and 171500z. Refer to tropical cyclone
18s (ivan)warnings (wtxs33 pgtw) for six-hourly updates


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