Tropical Cyclone Caleb Forms Over South Indian Ocean

Tropical Cyclone Caleb formed over the South Indian Ocean on Thursday.  At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Caleb was located at latitude 13.0°S and longitude 100.7°E which put it about 255 miles (410 km) east-southeast of Cocos Island.  Caleb was moving toward the south-southeast at 6 m.p.h. (9 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 995 mb.

Although there is a well defined low level circulation in Tropical Cyclone Caleb, the distribution of thunderstorms is asymmetrical.  The strongest thunderstorms are occurring in the northwestern quadrant of the circulation and they are in the primary rainband.  Those thunderstorms contain the strongest winds.  There are few thunderstorms in the other parts of the circulation, although there are some bands of lower clouds and showers in those regions.  The thunderstorms in the primary rainband are generating upper level divergence which is pumping out mass to the west of Tropical Cyclone Caleb.

Tropical Cyclone Caleb is in an environment that is marginal for intensification.  Caleb is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  So, there is enough energy in the upper ocean to support intensification.  However, an upper level ridge located southeast of Caleb is producing easterly winds which are blowing across the top of the tropical cyclone.  The easterly winds are generating moderate vertical wind shear and the shear is probably the reason why most of the thunderstorms are occurring in the northwestern quadrant of the circulation.  The moderate shear will inhibit intensification, but some strengthening may be possible if the upper level winds abate.

A ridge to the east of Caleb is steering the tropical cyclone toward the south-southeast and that general motion is expected to continue for another day or two.  Eventually, a second ridge is forecast to strengthen and steer Tropical Caleb back toward the northwest.