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NASA eyes Tropical Cyclone Bansi's eyewall replacement

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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IMAGE: NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Major Tropical Cyclone Bansi on January 14 at 9:55 UTC (4:55 a.m. EST). view more

Credit: Image Credit: NASA's Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Center

Early on January 14 NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Bansi in the Southern Indian Ocean after it weakened from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Satellite data suggests that Bansi may be undergoing eyewall replacement.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Cyclone Bansi at 09:55 UTC (4:55 a.m. EST). The storm was tightly wound with thick bands of powerful thunderstorms wrapping around the storm from north to east and into the center from the southwestern quadrant. In the image, clouds were wrapping into Bansi's 12 nautical-mile-wide (13.8 mile/22.2 km) eye. Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted that it may be an indication of eyewall replacement, during which the centermost ring of thunderstorms clouds (the eyewall) weakens and is "swallowed up" by a new eyewall of thunderstorms that encroached on the eye of the storm from the spiraling rain bands.

On January 14 at 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) Bansi was centered about 181 nautical miles (195 miles/314 km) north-northeast of the Island of Mauritius. Bansi had weakened overnight and maximum sustained winds were near 90 knots (103.6 mph/166.7 kph). However, the JTWC expects the storm to re-strengthen over the next two days and peak at 115 knots (132.3 mph/213 kph) before again weakening as it moves in an easterly direction.

Warnings remained in effect for Mauritius and Rodrigues on January 14. A tropical cyclone warning class 2 was in effect at Mauritius and a tropical cyclone warning class 1 was in effect at Rodrigues.

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Rob Gutro

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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