Tropical Cyclone Fani Strengthens to Equivalent of Hurricane/Typhoon

Tropical Cyclone Fani strengthened to the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon over the Bay of Bengal on Monday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Cyclone Fani was located at latitude 11.4°N and longitude 86.9°E which put it about 800 miles (1290 km) south of Kolkata (Calcutta), India.  Fani was moving toward the north at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 974 mb.

The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Fani exhibited greater organization on Monday.  The inner end of a rainband wrapped most of the way around the eastern and northern sides of the center of circulation.  Although there was still a break on the southwestern side of the center, an eye may have been forming at the center of circulation.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Fani and the circulation was much more symmetrical.  Storm around the core were generating 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 Fani will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Fani will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 31°C.  It will move under the axis of an upper level ridge where the winds are weak.  Very warm water and little vertical wind shear will allow Tropical Cyclone Fani to intensify during the next 48 hours.  It could intensify rapidly once the inner core is fully developed.  Fani is likely to strengthen into the equivalent of a major hurricane during the next  2 to 3 days.

Tropical Cyclone Fani will move around the western end of a subtropical ridge during the next few days.  The ridge will steer Fani in a generally northward direction.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Fani could approach the coast of India southwest of Kolkata in three or four days.  Fani could be the equivalent of a major hurricane when it approaches the coast.  Tropical Cyclone Fani has the potential to cause major wind damage.  It will also generate a dangerous storm surge along the coast.  Heavy rain will create the potential for fresh water flooding in inland locations.  The greatest risks at this time are for the Indian states of Orissa and West Bengal.