Dangerous Tropical Cyclone Fani neared the coast of northeastern India on Thursday. Fani rapidly intensified into the nearly the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Fani was located at latitude 18.0°N and longitude 84.9°E which put it about 100 miles (160 km) east of Visakhapatnam, India. Fani was moving toward the north at 11 m.p.h. (17 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 190 m.p.h. (305 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 918 mb.
Tropical Cyclone Fani intensified rapidly during recent hours. A circular eye with a diameter of 20 miles (32 km) developed at the center of circulation. A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Fani. Storms near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.
The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Fani grew larger as it intensified. Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 185 miles (295 km) from the center. The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Fani was 33.3. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 21.7 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 55.0. Tropical Cyclone Fani was capable of causing widespread significant damage.
Tropical Cyclone Fani is moving around the western end of a subtropical ridge. The ridge is steering Fani toward the north. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Fani is likely to make landfall near Brahmapur, India in about 12 hours. An upper level trough over India will steer Fani toward the northeast after it makes landfall. Tropical Cyclone Fani could pass near Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Kolkata (Calcutta), India.
Tropical Cyclone Fani will remain in a favorable environment during the 12 hours prior to landfall. Fani will be over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C. It will move through an environment where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Tropical Cyclone Fani will weaken after landfall. The upper level trough over India will produce stronger southwesterly winds, which will increase the vertical wind shear after Fani makes landfall. More wind shear and more friction over the land will cause Tropical Cyclone Fani to weaken to the equivalent of a tropical storm within 24 hours after landfall occurs.
Tropical Cyclone Fani is a dangerous tropical cyclone. The strengthen and size of Fani will create the potential for widespread significant damage. The counterclockwise circulation will cause the winds to blow water toward the coast along the northern Bay of Bengal. Tropical Cyclone Fani could generate a storm surge of 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 6.0 meters) in bays, estuaries and the mouths of rivers which act as funnels during storm surges. Heavy rain could cause inland fresh water flooding in parts of northeastern India and Bangladesh. The greatest threats are to the Indian states of Odisha (Orissa) and West Bengal.
Tropical Cyclone Phethai brought wind and rain to parts of eastern India on Sunday night. The center of Phethai made landfall southwest of Visakhapatnam, India near the Mouths of the Godavari. At 10:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Phethai was located at latitude 15.7°N and longitude 82.4°E which put it about 150 miles (240 km) southwest of Visakhapatnam. Phethai was moving toward the north at 11 m.p.h. (17 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 55 m.p.h. (90 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 989 mb.
Tropical Cyclone Phethai strengthened earlier on Sunday, but it started to weaken slightly when it approached the east coast of India. Phethai moved over slightly cooler water as it moved farther north over the western Bay of Bengal. Tropical Cyclone Phethai moved closer to upper level westerly winds in the middle latitudes and the vertical wind shear increased. Cooler water and more wind shear caused Phethai to start to weaken when it approached the coast.
Even though Tropical Cyclone Phethai started to weaken when it approached the coast of India, the circulation remained well organized. There was a distinct center of circulation. Stronger thunderstorms were occurring just to the west of the center. Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms were located north and east of the center of Tropical Cyclone Phethai. Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 140 miles (225 km) from the center of circulation.
Tropical Cyclone Phethai is moving around the western end of a ridge of high pressure over southeast Asia. The ridge will steer Phethai in a north-northeasterly direction. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Phethai will move over eastern Andhra Pradesh and southern Orissa. Phethai will drop locally heavy rain as it moves inland and flash flooding could occur in some locations.
Elsewhere, Tropical Cyclone Kenanga strengthened over the South Indian Ocean. At 10:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Kenanga was located at latitude 12.7°S and longitude 83.7°E which put it about 1095 miles (1770 km) east-southeast of Diego Garcia. Kenanga was moving toward the southwest at 20 m.p.h. (32 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 987 mb.
Tropical Cyclone Phethai formed over the southwest Bay of Bengal on Saturday. At 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Phethai was located at latitude 11.1°N and longitude 84.5°E which put it about 480 miles (775 km) south-southeast of Visakhapatnam, India. Phethai was moving toward the northwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.
More thunderstorms developed closer to the center of a low pressure system over the southwestern Bay of Bengal and the Indian Meteorological Department designated the system as Tropical Cyclone Phethai. The distribution of thunderstorms was asymmetrical. Most of the stronger thunderstorms were occurring northwest of the center of circulation. There were fewer thunderstorms southeast of the center, although several bands of thunderstorms were developing on the eastern periphery of the circulation. Storms northwest of the center were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the north of the tropical cyclone.
Tropical Cyclone Phethai will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification. Phethai will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C. It will move around the eastern end of an upper level ridge over southeast Asia. The ridge is already producing southeasterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation. Those winds are causing moderate vertical wind shear and the shear is the reason for the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms. The wind shear will continue and it will inhibit the intensification of Tropical Cyclone Phethai. Phethai could strengthen during the next 24 to 36 hours, but the rate of intensification is likely to be slow.
The ridge over southeast Asia will steer Tropical Cyclone Phethai north-northwest during the next several days. On its anticipated track Phethai will move toward the east coast of India. Tropical Cyclone Phethai could approach the coast near Visakhaptnam in about 48 hours. Phethai will bring gusty winds but heavy rain and flooding will be greater risks.
Elsewhere, Tropical Cyclone 06S formed over the South Indian Ocean on Saturday. At 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone 06S was located at latitude 9.1°S and longitude 91.2°E which put it about 1285 miles (2070 km) east of Diego Garcia. It was moving toward the south-southeast at 3 m.p.h. (5 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 998 mb.