Tropical Cyclone Fantala Reorganizes Northeast of Madagascar

Tropical Cyclone Fantala reorganized northeast of Madagascar on Tuesday.  At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Fantala was located at latitude 10.0°S and longitude 52.0°E which put it about 240 miles (385 km) northeast of Antsirañana, Madagascar.  Fantala was moving toward the east-southeast at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 135 m.p.h. (220 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 952 mb.

The core of the circulation of Tropical Cyclone Fantala became more organized on Tuesday.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded a circular eye that was visible on satellite imagery.  It did still appear that some drier air was wrapping around the eastern and southern sides of the circulation, but the drier air did not appear to be spiraling into the center of the circulation.  Upper level divergence appeared to increase throughout the day.

The environment around Tropical Cyclone Fantala is favorable for intensification.  It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is not much vertical wind shear.  The only inhibiting factor is the presence of a band of drier air on the eastern and southern sides of the circulation.  Given the improved organization of the core of the circulation, Tropical Cyclone Fantala could intensify further on Wednesday.

A ridge north of Fantala is steering the Tropical Cyclone toward the east-southeast and that general motion is expected to continue for another day or two.  A new subtropical ridge could develop southwest of Fantala and turn it back toward the west later this week.  Tropical Cyclone Fantala could still have an impact on northern Madagascar in a few days.