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Tropical Cyclone Abela Forms over the South Indian Ocean in the Middle of Winter

Tropical Cyclone Abela formed over the South Indian Ocean in the middle of winter on Sunday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Abela was located at latitude 12.9°S and longitude 62.4°E which put it about 640 miles (1030 km) northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius.  Abela was moving toward the west-southwest at 18 m.p.h. (29 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 989 mb.

Enough spiral banding developed in a low pressure system over the South Indian Ocean to allow the system to be classified as Tropical Cyclone Abela.  The circulation is not well organized.  Most of the thunderstorms were located in a thin primary rainband that wrapped around the western side of the center of circulation.  The other rainbands contained shallower clouds.  There was enough convection to produce some upper level divergence.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 150 miles (240 km) from the center of circulation.

The environment around Tropical Cyclone Abela is only marginal for further intensification.  It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is near 26°C.  Northeasterly winds in the upper levels are creating a moderate amount of vertical wind shear.  The wind shear will limit the potential for intensification during the short term.  In about a day or so Abela will move over cooler SSTs and it should start to weaken.

A ridge of high pressure located east of Abela is steering the tropical cyclone toward the west-southwest and that general motion is expected to continue for another day or two.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Abela will pass north of Mauritius and La Reunion.  Abela is expected to reach the western end of the ridge and recurve toward the south as it nears the east coast of Madagascar.