Tropical Cyclone Ava Strengthens East of Madagascar

Tropical Cyclone Ava intensified east of Madagascar on Thursday.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Ava was located at latitude 17.4°S and longitude 50.8°E which put it about 125 miles (205 km) east-northeast of Toamasina, Madagascar.  Ava was moving toward the west-northwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 980 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Ava exhibited the classic structure of a tropical cyclone on Thursday.  A clear eye was evident at the center of circulation on microwave satellite imagery.  The eye was surrounded by a nearly complete ring of showers and thunderstorms.  Spiral bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Ava.  Storms in the core of Ava were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 140 miles (225 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Ava will move through an environment favorable for intensification on Friday.  Ava will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28.5°C.  Tropical Cyclone Ava is moving near the western end of an upper level ridge, but the upper level winds are weak and there is not much vertical wind shear.  Warm water and little vertical wind shear will allow Tropical Cyclone Ava to intensify during the next 24 hours.  Ava should strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon on Friday.

Tropical Cyclone Ava is moving around the western end of a subtropical ridge, which has been steering Ava mostly toward the west.  Tropical Cyclone Ava is forecast to move more toward the southwest on Friday as it nears the western end of the ridge.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Ava will move close to the east coast of Madagascar near Toamasina in 18 to 24 hours.  When Ava reaches the western end of the ridge in about 24 hours, it will start to move more toward the south.

Tropical Cyclone Ava will bring strong winds and locally heavy rain to the east coast of Madagascar.  The winds will be strong enough to do damage and they could generate a storm surge at the coast.  Rain is already falling on parts of eastern Madagascar and more heavy rain will create the potential for floods.