Tropical Cyclone Fantala Weakens Northeast of Madagascar

Thunderstorms near the center of Tropical Cyclone Fantala dissipated and it weakened as moved northeast of Madagascar.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT  on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Fantala was located at latitude 11.5°S and longitude 54.5°E which put it about 350 miles (565 km) east of Antsirañana, Madagascar.  Fantala was moving west-northwest at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 988 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Fantala reversed course again on Saturday and it is moving over the same part of the South Indian Ocean that it already crossed twice during the past few days.  The winds produced by Fantala mixed cooler water up to to the surface of the ocean during its previous passages over the same region.  The cooler water means that there is less energy available to power the circulation of Tropical Cyclone.  Although the winds continue to rotate around the center of circulation, there are no thunderstorms near the core of Fantala.  There are still several thunderstorms in rainbands farther to the east of the center of circulation.

If new thunderstorms do not develop around the core of the circulation, the winds will gradually spin down and the tropical cyclone will dissipate within a few days.  Upper level winds blowing from the west-northwest are also generating some vertical wind shear, which will make it more difficult for new thunderstorms to form.

A subtropical ridge southwest of Fantala is steering the tropical cyclone toward the west-northwest and that general motion is expected to continue for the next several days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Fantala is forecast to pass north of Madagascar and move over the Seychelles.  It could be even weaker by the time it gets to the Seychelles.