Hurricane Season 2012: Tropical Depression Funso (Southern Indian Ocean)2
NASA's TRMM Satellite passed over the southwestern half of Tropical Storm Funso on January 19 at 1654 UTC (11:54 a.m. EST) and captured rainfall rates in the storm. Funso was centered in the Mozambique Channel, which separates Mozambique (left) on the African mainland, from the island of Madagascar (right). TRMM saw light to moderate rainfall as depicted in blue and green. It was falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
Cyclone Funso continues meandering around the Mozambique Channel because of a lack of steering mechanisms in the atmosphere, and NASA's TRMM satellite noticed a developing eye yesterday hinting it would intensify. Today, January, 20, Funco did intensify from a tropical storm into a Cyclone and it is bringing moderate rainfall to the region.
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) passed over Funso on January 19, and detected areas of moderate rainfall around the center, and north and east of the center of circulation, most over open water. Rainfall in those areas was occurring at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour. Some moderate to heavy rainfall was also occurring on January 19 over coastal Mozambique from Funso's outer thunderstorm bands and continued on January 20. The TRMM image also hinted at the development of an eye.
Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center using animated multispectral satellite imagery on January 20, noted the "period of rapid intensification has eased and the developing eye feature has filled for the time being. Tightly-wrapped deep convective banding persists in all quadrants of the system, with especially vigorous convection showing along the coast of Mozambique."
On January 20 at 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) Funso was about 655 nautical miles northeast of Maputo, Mozambique near 18.5 South latitude and 28.4 East longitude. Funso's center was sitting in the Mozambique Channel, which separates Mozambique on the African mainland, from the island of Madagascar. Funso's maximum sustained winds have reached hurricane force and are near 75 knots (86 mph/139 kmh). Funso has moved toward the west at 7 knots (8 mph/13 kmh) during the morning hours on January 20.
Forecasters expect Funso to go through another period of intensification because it is near a large area of moisture, trapped over the Mozambique Channel. In addition, sea surface temperatures are very warm, adding more fuel. Funco sits in a weak steering environment, so forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect it to meander southward through the Mozambique Channel over the weekend while strengthening.
Funso will likely bring showers and gusty winds to coastal Mozambique as it moves southerly through the Mozambique Channel over the weekend.
Text Credit: Rob Gutro NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.