Tropical Cyclone Haleh Develops Southeast of Diego Garcia

Tropical Cyclone Haleh developed southeast of Diego Garcia on Saturday.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Haleh was located at latitude 13.5°S and longitude 73.9°E which put it about 435 miles (700 km) south-southeast of Diego Garcia.  Haleh was moving toward the south-southwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 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 981 mb.

The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Haleh organized quickly on Saturday.  An inner rainband wrapped around the southern and western sides of the center of circulation.  Other bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Haleh.  The strongest rainbands were occurring in the eastern half of the circulation.  Rainbands in the western half of the circulation consisted mostly of showers and lower clouds.  Storms near the core of Haleh were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the southeast of the tropical cyclone.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 160 miles (260 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Haleh will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Haleh will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level trough to the west of Tropical Cyclone Haleh will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Haleh is forecast to intensify into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.

Tropical Cyclone Haleh will move around the northwestern part of a subtropical ridge over the South Indian Ocean.  The ridge will steer Haleh toward the southwest during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Haleh will remain well to the south of Diego Garcia.