Tropical Cyclone Karim Strengthens West-northwest of Cocos Island

Tropical Cyclone Karim strengthened over the South Indian Ocean west-northwest of Cocos Island on Sunday morning. At 5:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Karim was located at latitude 10.6°S and longitude 90.3°E which put it about 465 miles (750 km) west-northwest of Cocos Island. Karim was moving toward the south at 6 m.p.h (10 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 983 mb.

The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Karim exhibited much more organization on Sunday morning as it strengthened over the South Indian Ocean. The inner end of a rainband wrapped around the western side of the center of Karim’s circulation. Other bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center. Storms near the center of circulation generated upper level divergence that pumped mass away to the east of the tropical cyclone. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 175 miles (280 km) from the center of Karim.

Tropical Cyclone Karim will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours. Karim will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 28˚C. It will move under the western end of an upper level ridge over the Southeast Indian Ocean. The ridge will produce north-northwesterly winds that will blow toward the top of Karim’s circulation. Those winds will cause vertical wind shear. The wind shear will inhibit intensification, but the shear will not be large enough to stop Karim from intensifying. Tropical Cyclone Karim is likely to intensify during the next 24 hours and it could strengthen to the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.

Tropical Cyclone Karim will move around the western part of a high pressure system over the Southeast Indian Ocean. The high pressure system will steer Karim toward the south-southeast during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Karim will pass west of Cocos Island during the next 24 hours.