Tropical Storm "Cilida" formed December 19, 2018 NE of Madagascar as the 4th named tropical storm of the 2018/19 Southwest Indian Ocean cyclone season. The storm has since intensified into a Severe Tropical Storm and is expected to pass dangerously close to the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues as Category 3 hurricane equivalent.
At 06:00 UTC on December 20, the center of Tropical Storm "Cilida" was located about 880 km (546 miles) N of Mauritius and 1 000 km (620 miles) N of La Reunion. The system had a maximum average 10-minute wind speed of 111 km/h (69 mph) and was moving SW at 7 km/h (4 mph) with minimum central pressure of 985 hPa.
Over the past 6 hours, the curved band totally wrapped around the center and a warm spot appeared on the IR imagery, RSMC La Reunion reports. At 05:00 UTC, a ragged eye appeared on the satellite images.
The system is expected rapidly intensify as it tracks southwest until December 21. Cilida will then slow down while gradually turning southeastward and accelerate on December 22 while weakening.
The system is potentially posing a threat to the Mascarenes Islands this weekend (mainly Mauritius and Rodrigues islands).
Authorities invite the inhabitants of these islands to monitor the situation.
Tropical Storm " Cilida " at 10:00 UTC on December 20, 2018. Credit: UW-CIMSS/SSEC
Featured image: Tropical Storm "Cilida" at 10:00 UTC on December 20, 2018. Credit: UW-CIMSS/SSEC
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