Tropical Cyclone Faraji Churns Southeast of Diego Garcia

Tropical Cyclone Faraji churned southeast of Diego Garcia on Wednesday. At 4:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Faraji was located at latitude 16.0°S and longitude 84.7°E which put it about 1060 miles (1710 km) southeast of Diego Garcia. Faraji was moving toward the south-southwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 105 m.p.h. (165 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 125 m.p.h. (200 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 960 mb.

After intensification to the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Monday, Tropical Cyclone Faraji weakened gradually during the past 48 hours. Even though Faraji weakened, the circulation around the tropical cyclone remained very well organized. A small circular eye was apparent on infrared satellite images. The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Storms near the core of the circulation generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical cyclone. Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 30 miles (50 km) from the center of circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 130 miles (210 km from the center of Faraji.

Tropical Cyclone Faraji will move into an environment that will become less favorable for a strong tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours. Faraji will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C. An upper level trough east of Madagascar will move toward Tropical Cyclone Faraji. The approaching trough will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the tropical cyclone. Those winds will cause the wind vertical wind shear to increase. More vertical wind shear will likely cause Faraji to weaken during the next 48 hours..

Tropical Cyclone Faraji will move around the northern part of a subtropical high pressure system over the South Indian Ocean. The high will steer Faraji toward the west during the next few days. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Faraji will pass well to the south of Diego Garcia.