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Bansi (Southern Indian Ocean)
January 28, 2015

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The Electric Eye of Cyclone Bansi

Though this image may look like they come from a science fiction movie, it is in fact a photograph of tropical cyclone Bansi as seen at night by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). The image was taken when the ISS was east of Madagascar.

Bansi formed in the southwestern Indian Ocean on January 11, 2015. By the time the photo was taken on the following day, Bansi had achieved tropical cyclone strength, with sustained maximum winds over 185 kilometers (115 miles) per hour. The cyclone would reach category 4 strength before becoming a weak extra-tropical system on January 19.

The dim swirl of the cloud bands covers the ocean surface in this night image. The eye of the cyclone is brilliantly lit by lightning in or near the eye wall. The low-light settings of the camera used to take the image accentuate the contrast. The camera also accentuates the yellow-green airglow above the Earth’s limb, an atmospheric phenomenon frequently seen by astronauts. Stars appear above the airglow layer, and the solar panels of a docked Russian spacecraft jut into the image (upper left).

Astronaut photographs ISS042-E-135015 and ISS042-E-135030 were acquired on January 12, 2015, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 28 millimeter lens, and are provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 42 crew.They have been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by William L. Stefanov, NASA-JSC.

NASA's Earth Observatory/NASA JSC/ISS - Digital Camera


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Jan. 20, 2015 - The Once-Powerful Tropical Cyclone Bansi Stirred Up Ocean Sediment

Tropical Cyclone Bansi reached a Category 4 status on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on January 15 and 16 as it moved through the Southern Indian Ocean. By January 19 as the storm was weakening over open ocean, NASA's Aqua satellite captured a picture of sediment stirred up from the storm around the Cargados Carajos Shoals.

On Jan. 15 at 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST), Tropical Cyclone Bansi as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with maximum sustained winds near 130 knots (149.6 mph/240.8 kph). At that time Bansi was centered about 451 nautical miles (519 miles/835 km) east of Port Louis, Mauritius.

On January 18 at 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) the time of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center's last bulletin on the system, Bansi's maximum sustained winds had dropped to 65 knots (74 mph/120.4 kph) and it was located 1,425 nautical miles (1,640 miles/2,639 km) southwest of Cocos Island. Later in the day, Bansi started extra-tropical transitioning and by January 19, it was a weaker extra-tropical cyclone moving over open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean.

On January 19 at 10:15 UTC (5:15 a.m. EST) when NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Cargados Carajos Shoals, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard captured a visible image of the results of Bansi's powerful winds. The image showed sediment stirred up from the ocean bottom around the Shoals had colored the ocean waters around them.

According to Mauritiusattractions.com, Cargados Carajos Shoals is also known as Saint Brandon and consists of more than 50 islands, coral ridges and vast sand flats on an extended reef. It is located in the Southern Indian Ocean about 268 nautical miles (308 miles/496 km north east of Mauritius.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


[image-132]Jan. 16, 2015 - NASA Sees a Smaller Eye in a Stronger Tropical Cyclone Bansi

Tropical Cyclone Bansi's eye was wide open as NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead on January 15. As Bansi strengthened on Jan. 16, the eye decreased in size.

On January 15 at 06:15 UTC (1:15 a.m. EST), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible picture of Tropical Cyclone Bansi when it was east-northeast of the island of Mauritius.

The satellite flew directly over Bansi and the image clearly showed the wide eye all the way down to the blue ocean surface. Powerful thunderstorms circled the storm, which was at Category Four strength on the Saffir-Simpson scale at the time of the satellite's overpass.

According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Bansi's eye was 32 nautical miles (36.8 miles/59.2 km) wide, down from 46 nautical miles (53.9 miles/85.1 km) wide on Jan. 15.

At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST), Tropical Cyclone Bansi's maximum sustained winds increased to 130 knots (149.6 mph/240.8 kph), still making it a Category 4 storm. Just 24 prior, those winds were near 120 knots (138.1 mph/222.2 kph).  

Bansi was centered near 20.5 south latitude and 65.8 east longitude, about 451 nautical miles (519 miles/835 km) east of Port Louis, Mauritius. Bansi was moving to the southeast at 15 knots (17.2 mph/27.8 kph) and is expected to continue moving in that general direction. 

Heavy ocean swells are expected for Mauritius through Jan. 19 as the tropical cyclone passes to the north and east of the island. The Mauritius Meteorological Services noted "The sea will be very rough with easterly swells of the order of 4 meters, peaking to 7 meters that will continue to break mainly along the eastern and southern coasts. The public is strongly advised not to venture at sea." For updated warnings from Mauritius Meteorological Services, visit: http://metservice.intnet.mu/.

Bansi is forecast to weaken and being transitioning into an extra-tropical storm by Jan. 18 and 19 over open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean.  

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


[image-77]Jan. 15, 2015 - NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP Satellite Sees Tropical Cyclone Bansi's Eye Almost Quadruple in Area

Tropical Cyclone Bansi reached Category 4 hurricane status earlier this week and developed an eye. As the storm weakened to a Category 2 storm on Jan. 14 the eye became cloud-filled. When NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over on Jan. 15, the storm re-strengthened back to a Category 4 and the eye was again visible and almost quadrupled in width.

NOAA-NASA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Bansi on Jan. 15 at 09:46 UTC (4:46 a.m. EST) as it continued moving through the Southern Indian Ocean and the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument image revealed the storm's re-opened eye. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that animated multispectral satellite imagery revealed that the storm quickly re-consolidated and the eyewall became more defined and symmetric. The eye had also grown from 12 nautical miles (13.8 miles. 22.2 km) to 46 nautical miles (53.9 miles/85.1 km) wide.  

Regional warnings were still in effect, but only in Rodrigues. A tropical cyclone warning class 3 was in effect at Rodrigues, while the warnings in Mauritius had been dropped.

At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST), Tropical cyclone Bansi had maximum sustained winds near 120 knots (138.1 mph/222.2 kph). Hurricane-force winds extend 40 nautical miles (46 miles/74 km) from the center, while tropical storm-force winds extend as far as 130 nautical miles (149.6/240.8 km) from the center.

Bansi was centered near 18.0 south latitude and 60.7 east longitude, about 230 nautical miles (264.7 miles/426 km) east-northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius. Bansi is moving to the east-southeast at 6 knots (6.9 mph/11.1 kph) and is expected to continue moving in that general direction.  

As Bansi moves away from Rodrigues Island over the next two days it is expected to strengthen even more, with maximum sustained winds forecast to reach a Category 5 status on the Saffir-Simpson Scale at 145 knots (166.9/268.5 kph) before weakening again over open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean.  

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


[image-114]Jan. 14, 2015 - NASA Eyes Tropical Cyclone Bansi's Eyewall Replacement   

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. 

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


[image-96]Jan. 13, 2015 - NASA Sees Major Tropical Cyclone Bansi North of Mauritius

NASA's Terra satellite passed Tropical Cyclone Bansi on January 13 when it was about 170 nautical miles (195 miles/314 km) north of the Island of Mauritius and a major hurricane in the Southern Indian Ocean.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Cyclone Bansi on January 13 at 6:25 UTC (1:25 a.m. EST). The image revealed a 12 nautical mile-wide visible eye with high, powerful thunderstorms ringed around it, and spiraling bands of thunderstorms wrapping into the center of circulation. The eye of Bansi appears a couple of hundred miles north of Mauritius.

The image was created by the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

On January 13 at 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST), Bansi's maximum sustained winds had increased to 130 knots (149.6 mph/240.8 kph). Bansi is a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. At 0900 UTC, it was centered near 17.3 south latitude and 57.7 east longitude, about 169 nautical miles (194.5 miles/313 km) north of Port Louis, Mauritius. Bansi is moving to the northeast at 4 knots (4.6 mph/7.4 kph).

Mauritius remains under a tropical cyclone warning class 2 and La Reunion Island remained on Yellow pre-alert on January 13. Bansi is creating very rough seas, with maximum wave heights to 30 feet. (9.1 meters)

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that slow or near quasi-stationary movement is expected over the next 36 hours due to a weak steering environment. Over that time, some intensification is likely, and the cyclone is forecast to peak as a Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale at 140 knots (161.1 mph/259.3 kph) before starting to weaken.

The forecast calls for Bansi to continue moving away from Mauritius and head in an easterly direction over open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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Jan. 12, 2015 - NASA's Aqua Satellite Spots Tropical Cyclone Bansi Intensifying Quickly

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Bansi on January 12 as it was intensifying rapidly and saw a cloud-covered eye in the storm's center. Bansi has triggered warnings for the island of Mauritius and is expected to continue intensifying while passing it.

On Sunday, January 11, Tropical Cyclone Bansi formed north of La Reunion Island in the Southern Indian Ocean and triggered two alerts. A tropical cyclone warning class I was posted at Mauritius, and a Yellow pre-alert went into effect for La Reunion Island. At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) Tropical Cyclone Bansi (formerly System 92S) was located about 254 nautical miles north of St Denis, La Reunion Island. It was slowly moving to the east-southeast and had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph/62 kph).

On January 11 at 06:40 UTC (1:40 a.m. EST) the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured an image of Tropical Cyclone Bansi. The MODIS image showed strong thunderstorms tightly wrapped around the center, and a large, wide band of thunderstorms in the storm's eastern quadrant spiraling around the storm and into the center from the west.

By January 12 at 10:10 UTC (5:10 a.m. EST) when the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead, the storm had rapidly consolidated and the bands of thunderstorms circling the center had expanded. Bands of thunderstorms spiraling around the storm wrapped around the storm from the northwest to the southeast and finally wrapping into the center from the west. The eye of the storm appeared covered by high clouds. 

In Mauritius, the warnings on January 12 were changed to a tropical cyclone warning class 2. La Reunion, which lies to the southwest of Mauritius and is farther from the storm remained on Yellow pre-alert.

In less than 24 hours after it formed, Bansi strengthened from a minimal tropical storm into a major hurricane (Category 3) with maximum sustained winds. A Category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale has sustained winds from 111 to 129 mph (96 to 112 knots/178 to 208 kph).

At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) on January 12, Bansi had maximum sustained winds near 100 knots (115.1. mph/185.2 kph). Bansi was centered near 17.2 south latitude and 56.1 east longitude, about 191 nautical miles (219.8 miles/ 353.7 km) north-northwest of Port Louis, Mauritius, has tracked eastward at 7 knots (8.0 mph/12.9 kph).

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that Bansi continued to rapidly intensify as a result of passage over warm water, low vertical wind shear, and outflow aloft. A tropical cyclone needs good outflow (where winds spread out at the top of the hurricane) to maintain strength. Outflow means that air spreads out over the top of the storm assisting in its development. When outflow is weakened, the storm weakens.

Bansi is moving eastward along the southern edge of a near-equatorial ridge (elongated area) of high pressure. Bansi is forecast to continue moving to the east then southeast while strengthening to 125 knots before running into atmospheric conditions and cooler waters that will weaken it. 

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Tropical Cyclone Bansi
NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Bansi off Madagascar on January 12 at 10:10 UTC (5:10 a.m. EST).
Image Credit: 
NASA's Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Center
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NPP over Bansi
NOAA-NASA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Bansi on Jan. 15 at 09:46 UTC (4:46 a.m. EST) as the storm's eye re-opened.
Image Credit: 
NOAA/NASA/NRL
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Aqua spotted sediment stirred up by Tropical Cyclone Bansi around the Cargados Carajos Shoals, Indian Ocean
On Jan. 19, NASA's Aqua satellite spotted sediment stirred up by Tropical Cyclone Bansi around the Cargados Carajos Shoals, Indian Ocean.
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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Tropical Cyclone Bansi was seen from the International Space Station.
Tropical Cyclone Bansi was seen from the International Space Station.
Image Credit: 
NASA's Earth Observatory/NASA JSC/ISS
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Tropical Cyclone Bansi
NASA's Terra satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Bansi off Madagascar on January 11 at 6:40 UTC (1:40 a.m. EST).
Image Credit: 
NASA's Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Center
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Terra image of Bansi
NASA's Terra satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Bansi on January 13 at 6:25 UTC (1:25 a.m. EST).
Image Credit: 
NASA's Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Center
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MODIS image of Bansi
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).
Image Credit: 
NASA's Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Center
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MODIS image of Bansi
On January 15 at 06:15 UTC (1:15 a.m. EST), NASA's Terra satellite captured this visible picture of Tropical Cyclone Bansi east-northeast of the island of Mauritius.
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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Page Last Updated: January 28th, 2015
Page Editor: Lynn Jenner