Tropical Cyclone Funani Brushes Rodrigues, Gelena Also a Threat

The western edge of Tropical Cyclone Funani brushed Rodrigues on Wednesday and Tropical Cyclone Gelena also posed a threat to the island.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Funani was located at latitude 18.1°S and longitude 65.1°E which put it about 515 miles (830 km) east-northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius and about 155 miles (250 km) northeast of Rodrigues.  Funani was moving toward the southeast at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 105 m.p.h. (170 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 125 m.p.h. (205 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 968 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Funani rapidly intensified into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon on Wednesday.  An eye was apparent on satellite images.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Storms near the core of Funani generated strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Funani.  There were more bands in the eastern half of the circulation.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 35 miles (55 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 140 miles (225 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Funani will be in an environment favorable for intensification for another 12 to 24 hours.  Funani will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Funani could strengthen into the equivalent of a major hurricane during the next 24 hours.  Funani will move over cooler water at the end of the week and it will start to weaken in a less favorable environment.

Tropical Cyclone Funani is moving south of a subtropical ridge which is steering the tropical cyclone toward the southeast.  A general motion toward the southeast is expected to continue during the next few days.  On its anticipated track the core of Tropical Cyclone Funani will pass east of Rodrigues.  Surface observations on Rodrigues indicate that the western portion of Funani is dropping rain on that island, but winds are generally blowing at less than tropical storm force.

Tropical Cyclone Gelena also poses a threat to Rodrigues.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gelena was located at latitude 12.5°S and longitude 53.2°E which put it about 535 miles (865 km) north-northwest of Port Louis, Mauritius.  Gelena was moving toward the south-southwest at 3 m.p.h. (5 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 987 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Gelena also intensified rapidly on Wednesday.  A tiny, pinhole eye was apparent on satellite imagery.  A thin ring of thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Storms near the core of Gelena were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Gelena.  There were more bands in the northern half of the circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 90 miles (150 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Gelena will also move through an environment favorable for intensification.  Gelena will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Gelena is likely to intensify into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon during the next 24 hours.  Gelena could strengthen into the equivalent of a major hurricane during the next several days.

Although Tropical Cyclone Gelena is currently weaker and smaller than Tropical Cyclone Funani, it may pose a greater risk to Rodrigues.  Gelena is forecast to pass closer to Rodrigues than Funani will pass and Gelena may be the equivalent of a major hurricane when it moves near Rodrigues.  Gelena could bring strong winds and heavy rain to Rodrigues in about 48 hours.

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