NASA MODIS Image of the Day: March 4, 2012 - Tropical Cyclone Irina (14S) over Madagascar


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Multiple storms struck the region of Madagascar and the Mozambique Channel in early 2012: Tropical Depression Dando in mid-January, Tropical Cyclone Funso in late January, and Tropical Cyclone Giovanna in mid-February.

At the end of February, a fourth storm came to life.

Irina started as a tropical storm on February 29. By March 1, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported, it was a tropical cyclone. Irina had maximum sustained winds of 55 knots (100 kilometers per hour) with gusts up to 70 knots (130 kilometers per hour). The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on March 1, 2012. The storm appears to feature a coiled center surrounded by large spiral arms. Clouds cover most of Madagascar. As of March 1, the JTWC reported, Irina was located roughly 185 nautical miles (345 kilometers) southwest of Antananarivo and was moving southward. By 15:00 UTC on February 3, the JTWC reported storm was located approximately 150 nautical miles (278 kilometers) east of Maputo, Mozambique and was tracking due westward, which means the storm was moving towards the city, which is the capital of Mozambique and home to approximately 1,700,000 people. This storm’s path and behavior is difficult to predict, due to interaction with weather systems and sea surface temperature. The current forecast is for the Irina to curve towards the south, then make landfall in southern Mozambique within the next 96 hours (by March 7) as a weak Tropical Cyclone. The storm is predicted to primarily be a heavy rainfall event, although high and/or damaging winds may also accompany the rain.

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