Stronger Tropical Cyclone Gelena Moves Toward Rodrigues

A stronger Tropical Cyclone Gelena moved toward Rodrigues on Thursday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gelena was located at latitude 14.8°S and longitude 54.5°E which put it about 340 miles (550 km) north-northwest of Port Louis, Mauritius.  Gelena was moving toward the south-southeast at 11 m.p.h. (17 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 115 m.p.h. (185 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 972 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Gelena strengthened into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon on Thursday.  An eye cleared at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Storms near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Gelena.  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 Gelena will 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 environment where the upper level winds are weak and the there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Gelena will intensify during the next 24 to 36 hours and it could strengthen rapidly at times.  Gelena will likely become the equivalent of a major hurricane during the next 36 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Gelena will move south of a subtropical ridge which will steer the tropical cyclone toward the southeast.  On its anticipated track the core of Gelena will pass north of Mauritius in about 24 hours.  Tropical Cyclone Gelena could approach Rodrigues in 36 to 48 hours.  Gelena could be the equivalent of a major hurricane at that time.

Elsewhere over the Southwest Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Funani intensified into the equivalent of a major hurricane as it moved away from Rodrigues.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Funani was located at latitude 22.2°S and longitude 69.3°E which put it about 430 miles (690 km) east-southeast of Rodrigues, Mauritius.  Funani was moving toward the southeast at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 130 m.p.h. (215 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 950 mb.

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