Tropical Cyclone Maha Strengthens to Equivalent of a Hurricane/Typhoon

Tropical Cyclone Maha strengthened into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon over the Arabian Sea west of India on Saturday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Maha was located at latitude 17.7°N and longitude 66.1°E which put it about 440 miles (705 km) west-southwest of Mumbai, India.  Maha was moving toward the west-northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 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 997 mb.

The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Maha exhibited better organization on Saturday.  An eye formed at the center of Maha.  The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in the ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Maha.  The strongest rainbands were in the southern half of the circulation.  Storms near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 65 miles (105 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Maha will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 36 to 48 hours.  Maha will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move under the western portion of an upper level ridge where the winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Maha will continue to intensify and it could strengthen into the equivalent of a major hurricane during the n ext several days.

Tropical Cyclone Maha will move around the southwestern part of a ridge of high pressure over India and the eastern Arabian Sea.  The high will steer Maha toward the northwest during the next day or two.  An upper level trough will approach Tropical Cyclone Maha from the northwest in two or three days.  Westerly winds blowing around the southern end of the trough will turn Maha back toward the east.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Maha could approach the west coast of India north of Mumbai in about four days.