Tropical Cyclone Habana strengthened back to the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale over the South Indian Ocean on Wednesday. At 4:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Habana was located at latitude 17.4°S and longitude 75.1°E which put it about 750 miles (1210 km) east of Rodrigues. Habana was moving toward the west at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 185 m.p.h. (295 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 935 mb.
Tropical Cyclone Habana strengthened back to the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane over the South Indian Ocean east of Rodrigues on Wednesday. Microwave satellite images revealed the existence of concentric eyewalls in the middle of Habana. The small original eye and eyewall was surrounded by a larger outer eye. The strongest winds were still occurring in the smaller inner eyewall. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the concentric eyewalls.
The formation of concentric eyewalls increased the size of the core of Tropical Cyclone Habana. However, the size of the overall circulation around Habana remained small. Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 40 miles (65 km) from the center of Habana. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 90 miles (145 km) from the center of circulation. The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Habana was 31.6. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 13.8 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 45.4.
Tropical Cyclone Habana will move through an environment capable of supporting a strong tropical cyclone during the next 36 hours. Habana will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures will be near 28°C. It will move under the axis of an upper level ridge over the South Indian Ocean. The winds are weak near the axis of the ridge and there will be little vertical wind shear. The formation of concentric eyewalls is likely to cause Tropical Cyclone Habana to weaken at least temporarily when the inner eyewall with the strongest winds dissipates. Habana could strengthen again if the outer eyewall being to contract.
Tropical Cyclone Habana will move north of a subtropical high pressure system over the South Indian Ocean. The high will steer Habana toward the west during the next several days. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Habana will remain far to the south of Diego Garcia. Habana is forecast to still be east of Rodrigues during the next few days.