Tropical Cyclone Habana moved west over the South Indian Ocean on Tuesday. At 4:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Habana was located at latitude 17.8°S and longitude 77.7°E which put it about 950 miles (1500 km) east of Rodrigues. Habana was moving toward the west at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 969 mb.
Tropical Cyclone Habana strengthened on Tuesday as it moved westward over the South Indian Ocean. A small circular eye was evident again on infrared and microwave satellite imagery. 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 Habana generated strong upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the tropical cyclone.
The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Habana was small. Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 25 miles (40 km) from the center of Habana. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 75 miles (120 km) from the center of circulation. The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Habana was 16.5. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 8.9 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 25.4.
Tropical Cyclone Habana will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 36 hours. Habana will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures will be near 28°C. It will move under the axis of an upper level ridge over the South Indian Ocean. The winds are weak near the axis of the ridge and there will be little vertical wind shear. Tropical Cyclone Habana is likely to intensify to the equivalent of a major hurricane during the next 24 hours. Since the circulation around Habana is so small, the intensity could change rapidly.
Tropical Cyclone Habana will move north of a subtropical high pressure system over the South Indian Ocean. The high will steer Habana toward the west during the next several days. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Habana will pass far to the south of Diego Garcia. Habana is forecast to remain east of Rodrigues during the next few days.