In a remote area of the Indian Ocean, a tropical storm continues to intensify then weaken only to redevelop making forecasting very challenging.
The named storm is forecast to develop into a weak tropical cyclone over coming days. However only two days ago on February 14, a forecast was made for the storm to develop into a strong Category 3 storm on the Saffir Simpson Scale. That forecast is downgraded significantly and there is even the chance it may not properly transition into a tropical cyclone at all.
The named storm “Uhriah” developed relatively close but south west of Java (Indonesia) and travelled south west but is expected take a more southerly direction over coming days.
The storm has formed over waters of 29C which would support a tropical cyclone however it appears the storm has been significantly affected by sheer which at one stage, almost tore the storm apart. The storm has managed to redevelop after losing much of its structure. It sustains a small but intense core and an eye has been visible in satellite photos.
At the time of writing the storm is situated at latitude 17.9 degrees south and 84.7 degrees east placing it deep within the Indian Ocean with no imminent threat of landfall. It is possible that the storm will not make landfall during its lifespan.
It sustains winds of 55 knots or approximately 102 km/h near the core. It borders on the transition to a tropical cyclone and if it does so, then its maximum strength is expected to be a Category 1 storm throughout its life span with peak winds to 80 knots or 148 km/h.
What makes this storm interesting that despite the sheer that nearly pulls the storm apart, it has maintained some degree of structure over the past 3 or 4 days. Eventually the storm will weaken as it encounters colder waters further south.
1- CIMSS (Forecast plots for Tropical Storm Uhriah) dated 16/2/2016.
2 – NASA (MODIS Worldview satellite image of Uhriah) acquired 16/2/2016.