Tropical Cyclone Gelena strengthened into the equivalent of a major hurricane on Friday. At 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gelena was located at latitude 16.8°S and longitude 56.9°E which put it about 265 miles (425 km) north of Port Louis, Mauritius. Gelena was moving toward the southeast at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 125 m.p.h. (205 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 155 m.p.h. (205 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 953 mb.
The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Gelena strengthened and grew larger on Friday. An eye appeared intermittently at the center of Gelena on satellite imagery. A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in the ring of storms. More bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the circulation. Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 50 miles (80 km) from the center of circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 175 miles (280 km) from the center.
The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Gelena was 23.6. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 17.3 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 40.9. Those indices indicated that tropical Cyclone Gelena was capable of causing major regional damage.
Tropical Cyclone Gelena will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification for another 12 to 24 hours. Gelena will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C. An upper level trough near Madagascar will produce westerly winds which are blowing toward the top of Tropical Cyclone Gelena. Those winds will produce some vertical wind shear and they will inhibit upper level divergence toward the western periphery of Gelena. The wind shear will inhibit intensification, but Tropical Cyclone Gelena could strengthen on Saturday.
Tropical Cyclone Gelena will move south of a subtropical ridge. The ridge will steer Gelena in a southeasterly direction. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Gelena will pass north of Mauritius. However, Gelena could approach Rodrigues within 36 hours. Tropical Cyclone Gelena could bring strong winds and heavy rain to Rodrigues.
Elsewhere over the southern Indian Ocean, Tropical Cyclone Funani was speeding toward colder water. At 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday the center of Tropical Cyclone Funani was located at latitude 26.3°S and longitude 73.4°E which put it about 805 miles (1295 km) east-southeast of Rodrigues. Funani was moving toward the southeast at 28 m.p.h. (45 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 105 m.p.h. (170 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 977 mb.