Tropical Cyclone Bulbul strengthened over the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday. At 10:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Bulbul was located at latitude 14.8°N and longitude 89.9°E which put it about 520 miles (840 km) south of Kolkata, India. Bulbul was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 985 mb.
A low pressure system that was formerly designated at Tropical Storm Matmo when it was over the South China Sea moved across southeast Asia and over the Bay of Bengal during the past few days. The low pressure system became nearly stationary west of the Andaman Islands. More thunderstorms began to develop and bands began to form on Tuesday. The low pressure system strengthened on Wednesday and the India Meteorological Department designated the system as Tropical Cyclone Bulbul.
The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Bulbul was still organizing on Wednesday night. More thunderstorms were developing around the center of circulation. Storms near the center 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 Bulbul. The stronger rainbands were in the western half of the circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 80 miles (130 km) from the center.
Tropical Cyclone Bulbul will move through an area favorable for intensification during the next 48 hours. Bulbul will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C. It will move under the western end of an upper level ridge over southeast Asia. The ridge will produce southerly 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 Bulbul is likely to strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon within 36 to 48 hours.
The ridge over southeast Asia will steer Tropical Cyclone Bulbul toward the north during the next several days. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Bulbul will approach the coast around the northern Bay of Bengal in two or three days. Bulbul could be the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon when it approaches the coast.
Elsewhere, a much weaker Tropical Cyclone Maha neared the west coast of India. At 10:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Maha was located at latitude 20.0°N and longitude 70.2°E which put it about 75 miles (120 km) southwest of Dui, India. Maha was moving toward the east-northeast at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1004 mb. Tropical Cyclone Maha will drop rain of southern Gujarat on Thursday.