Powerful Tropical Cyclone Ockhi Churns West of India

Powerful Tropical Cyclone Ockhi churned over the Arabian Sea west of India on Saturday night.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Ockhi was located at latitude 12.1°N and longitude 69.1°E which put it about 535 miles (860 km) south-southwest of Mumbai, India.  Ockhi was moving toward the northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 963 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Ockhi intensified again on Saturday and it was the equivalent of a strong Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  There was an elliptical eye at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye, but there was a weaker area in the eastern side of the ring.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the circulation.  The storms around the center of circulation were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the northeast of Tropical Cyclone Ockhi.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 160 miles (260 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Ockhi has been moving through an environment favorable for intensification, but it will move into a less favorable environment on Sunday.  Ockhi will continue to move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  So, there will be enough energy in the upper ocean to support a strong tropical cyclone.  Tropical Cyclone Ockhi could intensify a little more during the next 12 hours.  However, an upper level trough over Saudi Arabia will approach Ockhi from the west.  Southwesterly winds ahead of the trough will increase the vertical wind shear over Tropical Cyclone Ockhi and the increased shear is likely to cause the tropical cyclone to start to weaken later on Sunday.

Tropical Cyclone Ockhi is moving around the western end of a ridge centered over the Bay of Bengal.  The ridge is steering Ockhi toward the northwest.  Tropical Cyclone Ockhi will turn more toward the north on Sunday when it moves around the western end of the ridge.  The upper level trough approaching Ockhi from Saudi Arabia will steer the tropical cyclone toward the northeast in about 24 hours.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Ockhi will approach the west coast of India north of Mumbai in about 60 hours.