NASA sees Giovanna reach cyclone strength, threaten Madagascar

February 10, 2012
The MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image at 06:00 UTC (1 a.m. EST) on February 10, 2012, as Tropical Cyclone Giovanna moved through the Southern Indian Ocean. Although the visible image did not reveal an eye, infrared data did see the beginning of an eye. The thunderstorms around the center of circulation are higher than the surrounding clouds, and cast shadow on the lower surrounding clouds in this image. Credit: Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Tropical Storm 12S built up steam and became a cyclone on February 10, 2012 as NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead. Residents of east-central Madagascar should prepare for this cyclone to make landfall by February 13 according to forecasters.

Now named Cyclone Giovanna, this storm has reached Category One status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane/Cyclone scale with near 65 knots (~75 mph/120.4 kph) on February 10, 2012. It was located about 480 nautical miles (552 miles/889 km) northeast of La Reunion island, near 15.8 South and 61.2 East. It was moving to the west-southwest near 8 knots (9mph/15 kph).

When NASA's passed over Cyclone Giovanna, the (MODIS) aboard, captured a visible image at 06:00 UTC (1 a.m. EST) on February 10, 2012. Although the visible image did not reveal an eye, infrared data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite did see the beginning of an eye. In the , the thunderstorms around the center of circulation appeared higher than the surrounding clouds, and cast shadow on the lower surrounding clouds.

Forecasters at the Joint (JTWC) are still forecasting a landfall in east-central Madagascar. Residents of Madagascar need to prepare for the storm's arrival and expect heavy, flooding rainfall, very rough surf conditions and Cyclone-force winds.

On February 10 at 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) the JTWC forecast stated: "Due to the favorable environment, Giovanna is forecast to strengthen to a peak of 110 knots (~127 mph/~204 kph) within the next 36 hours." The system is expected to weaken significantly as it tracks across Madagascar; however, re-development is expected in the Mozambique Channel after 120 hours."

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