Tropical Cyclone Karim Moves Southwest of Cocos Island

Tropical Cyclone Karim moved southwest of Cocos Island on Tuesday morning. At 5:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Karim was located at latitude 17.1°S and longitude 92.4°E which put it about 445 miles (725 km) southwest of Cocos Island. Karim was moving toward the south-southeast at 15 m.p.h (24 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 980 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Karim showed signs of weakening as it moved over the South Indian Ocean southwest of Cocos Island on Tuesday morning. The distribution of thunderstorms became asymmetrical. The strongest thunderstorms were occurring in bands south and east of the center of Karim. Bands in the northern and western parts of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. Storms southeast of the center of circulation were still generating upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the tropical cyclone. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 155 miles (250 km) from the center of Tropical Cyclone Karim.

Tropical Cyclone Karim will move through an environment unfavorable for intensification during the next 48 hours. Karim will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 24˚C. An upper level trough over the South Indian Ocean will produce strong northwesterly winds that will blow toward the top of Karim’s circulation. Those winds will cause moderate vertical wind shear. A combination of colder Sea Surface Temperatures and moderate vertical wind shear will cause Tropical Cyclone Karim to weaken during the next 48 hours.

The upper level trough over the South Indian Ocean will steer Tropical Cyclone Karim toward the southeast during the next 24 hours. When Karim moves over colder water, the thunderstorms will not rise as high in the atmosphere and the circulation around Tropical Cyclone Karim will not be as tall. When the circulation around Karim becomes shorter, it will be steered by winds lower in the atmosphere. The winds lower in the atmosphere could turn Karim back toward the north later this week. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Karim could meander south of Cocos Island while it weakens during the next several days.