Tropical Cyclone Benilde in the south Indian Ocean
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Tropical Cyclone Benilde in the south Indian Ocean

January 5, 2012
Tropical Storm Benilde, which first formed on December 28, 2011, had strengthened to a Category 2 Tropical Cyclone by December 31, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the storm swirling in the south Indian Ocean. A large and distinct eye can be visualized, as well as the spiral shape characteristic of strong storms.

According to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), the maximum sustained winds reached 167 km/hr (103 mph) late on December 30 and remained at that strength throughout December 31. Since that time, the storm has steadily weakened.

Although Benilde is a heavy rainmaker, it is traveling in open ocean and no impact is expected to land. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center advisory issued on January 3, 2012 at 21:00 UTC, Benilde’s maximum sustained winds had dropped to 65 km/hr (40.3 miles per hour), and the storm was located at 21.8S 73.5E. Benilde is expected to dissipate as a significant tropical cyclone over water within the next 24 hours.

Credits: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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