NASA spots newborn Tropical Storm Chedza making landfall

NASA spots newborn Tropical Storm Chedza making landfall
On Jan. 16 at 11:20 UTC NASA's Aqua satellite captured this picture of Tropical Storm Chedza making landfall in southwestern Madagascar. Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Tropical Storm Chedza rapidly intensified from a tropical low pressure area to a tropical storm during the morning hours on January 16 near Madagascar's southwestern coast. NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead and captured an image of the newborn storm's quick landfall.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard Aqua took a visible picture of Chedza on Jan. 16 at 11:20 UTC (6:20 a.m. EST). At that time, Chedza's center was along Madagascar's southwestern coast, and the eastern half of the was over the island nation while the western half was over the Mozambique Channel. The MODIS image also showed what appeared to be a developing eye.

At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST), Tropical Storm Chedza's maximum sustained winds were near 50 knots (57.5 mph/92.6 kph). Chedza was centered near 20.0 south latitude and 44.2 east longitude, about 650 nautical miles (748 miles/1,204 km) west of St. Denis, La Reunion Island. Chedza was moving to the east-southeast at 6 knots (6.9 mph/11.1 kph) and is expected to continue moving in that general direction.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) looked at animated multispectral satellite imagery today, January 16 and noted that it showed "a continued consolidation of the system with a more defined low-level circulation center with deep convective banding (of thunderstorms) wrapping in as the system is beginning to make landfall across western Madagascar."

JTWC forecasts take Chedza on an easterly track over Madagascar and back into the Southern Indian Ocean where it is expected to re-intensify and pass south of La Reunion Island early next week.

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