On Jan. 5 at 5:24 a.m. EST (1024 UTC) the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite showed the eye of Ava over the northeastern coast near Mahavelona. Mahavelona is a town located in the district of Toamasina II, in the region of Atsinanana. The eye is about 10 nautical miles wide on satellite imagery.
On Jan. 5 at 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) Ava had strengthened into a hurricane with maximum sustained winds had increased to 90 knots (103 mph/166 kph). The center of circulation was located near 18.4 degrees south latitude and 49.2 degrees east longitude. That's located approximately 361 nm west-northwest of St Denis, Reunion Island. Ava was moving west-southwestward at 6 knots (7 mph/11 kph).
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted Ava is forecast to track along the coastline of eastern Madagascar reemerging over open water in a day. "Land interaction will weaken the system significantly to 65 knots (75 mph/120 kph), and with environmental conditions favorable this intensity should be maintained as Ava tracks southward over the Indian Ocean."
Météo Madagascar, the national weather service for the country has issued red alerts and yellow alerts that cover a large area of the island's east coast.
For updated warnings, visit: http://www.meteomadagascar.mg/cyclone.