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Hurricane Season 2007: Favio (Western Pacific)
02.16.07
 
Storm Summary: Mozambique Hit by Powerful Cyclone Favio

After brushing the southern tip of the island of Madagascar, Cyclone Favio continued westward, striking Mozambique on the morning of Feb. 22, as a strong Category 3 storm.

Favio began as a tropical disturbance back on Feb. 11, in the central Indian Ocean south of Deigo Garcia in the Chagos Archipelago. Slow to intensify, the system finally became a tropical storm three days later on the 14th as it was moving southwest through the central Indian Ocean.

Favio remained a tropical storm for the next several days as it made its way through the west-central Indian Ocean east of Mauritius in the general direction of southern Madagascar. Favio finally began to intensify as it neared Madagascar and became a Category 1 cyclone on the 19th. As it rounded the southern tip of Madagascar, Favio continued to intensify and reached Category 3 intensity on the 20th. The cyclone then took a more northwesterly path as it entered the Mozambique Channel.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite was placed into its low-earth orbit in November 1997. Its primary mission is to measure rainfall from space; however, it is valuable for monitoring tropical cyclones, especially over remote parts of the open ocean.

These images of Favio were captured by TRMM as the powerful storm was moving away from Madagascar, at 9:29 a.m. EST (1429 UTC) on Feb. 20. The first image shows the horizontal distribution of rain intensity looking down on the storm. Rain rates in the center of the swath are from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), while those in the outer portion are from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The rain rates are overlaid on infrared (IR) data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS). TRMM shows that Favio is a well-organized storm with a central eye (dark blue area in the center) surrounded by an eyewall containing heavy rainfall (dark red areas). The storm is also very symmetric with good banding in the rain field as evidenced by the tightly-curved bands of moderate rain (green areas) spiraling in towards the center. These features are the hallmarks of a mature, intense tropical cyclone.

TRMM image of Tropical Cyclone Favio
Click image to enlarge.

The next TRMM image was taken at the same time and shows a 3-D perspective of Favio using data collected from the TRMM PR. The higher cloud tops are indicated in red. Deep convective towers that are part of the eyewall form a ring around the center. These can be a precursor to future strengthening.

TRMM image of Tropical Cyclone Favio
Click image to enlarge.

Tropical cyclones act like large heat engines. Their fuel comes from the transformation of water vapor in the atmosphere. As water vapor condenses into the tiny cloud droplets that eventually form the precipitation, heat is released. This heat, known as latent heat, is what drives the storm's circulation. In general, the more heating that occurs, the more intense the storm will become. This heating is most effective in driving the storm if it occurs near its center. Indeed Favio would continue to strengthen after these images were taken. At the time of these images Favio was a Category 3 cyclone with maximum sustained winds estimated at 105 knots (121 mph) by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Although the center of Favio never made landfall in Madagascar, the storm brought heavy rains to the southern part of island.

As Favio crossed the Mozambique Channel it reached a peak intensity of 125 knots (144 mph) on the early morning of the 22nd, making it a Category 4 storm. The cyclone then weakened slightly before slamming into southern Mozambique with sustained winds estimated at 110 knots (127 mph). The final image was taken by TRMM at 3:44 p.m. EST (2044 UTC) on the 22nd soon after Favio made landfall in Mozambique.

TRMM shows that although the eye is not as well defined as in the earlier image, the circulation is still robust as seen by the well-defined curvature in the spiral rainbands (green arcs). Maximum sustained winds were still estimated to be 90 knots (104 mph) at the time of this image, but quickly diminished thereafter. Unfortunately for Mozambique, the rains from Favio are not welcome as the country has been experiencing flooding over the past several weeks, which could be exacerbated by Favio.

TRMM image of Tropical Cyclone Favio
Click image to enlarge.

TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Images produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC).



Tropical Cyclone Favio Wreaks Havoc in Mozambique

Although powerful tropical cyclone Favio quickly weakened after making landfall on the southeast Mozambique coastline on Thurs., Feb. 22, forecasters fear continued heavy rains from the storm could dramatically worsen existing floods in the center of the country.

Heavy rains are likely to fall over the Zambezi river basin on Fri., Feb. 23, where several weeks of severe flooding has already displaced more than 120,000 people. Favio is blamed for four deaths and more than 70 injuries in Mozambique's resort town of Vilanculos, where thousands of homes were destroyed along with the hospital and power grid, officials said. The storm also uprooted trees and blew off rooftops in the town of Pontagea.

At 10:00 p.m. EST on Thurs., Feb. 22 (0300 UTC, Fri., Feb. 23), tropical cyclone Favio was located near 19.8 degrees south latitude and 33.7 degrees east longitude, or about 355 miles north-northeast of Maputo, Mozambique, and was moving toward the northwest at 10 knots (12 mph). Maximum sustained winds had weakened to 55 knots (63 mph), with gusts to 70 knots (81 mph).

A ridge (elongated area of high pressure) over South Africa will continue to steer Favio on a northwesterly track and forecasters expect it to weaken below tropical cyclone strength by midday Fri., Feb. 23, as it continues traveling across land.

Satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Favio on Feb. 23, 2007 taken by TRMM.
Click image to enlarge.


This image of Tropical Cyclone Favio was taken by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite at 3:45 p.m. EST (2045 UTC) on Thurs., Feb. 22, shortly after making landfall on the Mozambique coastline. It shows a top-down-view of rain intensity. Estimated rain rates of 25 to 40 millimeters (0.98 inches to 1.57 inches) per hour were common, with isolated areas of extreme rainfall (more than 50 millimeters, or 1.97 inches per hour). TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, RSIS/Goddard Space Flight Center



Favio Remains a Powerful Cyclone and Will Soon Threaten Land

Despite some modest weakening, tropical cyclone Favio remains a powerful cyclone in the Indian Ocean and will likely make landfall within the next day.

At 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) on Wed., Feb. 21, tropical cyclone Favio was located near 23.6 degrees south latitude and 37.8 degrees east longitude, or about 330 miles east-northeast of Maputo, Mozambique, and was moving toward the west-northwest at 9 knots (10 mph). Maximum sustained winds were near 100 knots (115 mph), with gusts to 125 knots (144 mph). Wave heights close to the center of the storm were near 33 feet.

Favio has weakened slightly over the past day as a bit of cooler, drier air has become mixed in its circulation. A ridge (elongated area of high pressure) to the south of the cyclone should steer it on a westerly path, before turning it more to the north within 24 hours. Forecasters expect the storm to weaken slowly as it interacts with land and encounters less favorable conditions aloft. Favio is expected to make landfall along the Mozambique coastline with maximum winds of 80 knots (92 mph) on late Thurs., Feb. 22.

Satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Favio on Feb. 21, 2007
Click image to enlarge
This image of tropical cyclone Favio was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite at 2:35 a.m. EST (735 UTC) on Wed., Feb. 21. Although the overall structure and organization of Favio remains consistent with a strong storm, the eye is no longer as clear or distinct, typical of a weakening cyclone. Image credit: NASA/GSFC. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, RSIS/Goddard Space Flight Center



Favio Strengthens Into a Powerful, Massive Tropical Cyclone

Following an extended period of slow, modest intensification, tropical cyclone Favio grew into a very powerful storm over the past two days as it traveled the Indian Ocean waters off the coast of Madagascar.

At 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) on Tues., Feb. 20, Tropical Cyclone Favio was located near 25.1 degrees south latitude and 41.3 degrees east longitude, or about 500 miles east of Maputo, Mozambique, and was moving toward the west at 10 knots (12 mph). Maximum sustained winds were near 105 knots (121 mph), with gusts to 130 knots (150 mph). Wave heights close to the center of the storm were near 36 feet.

A strong ridge (elongated area of high pressure) over northeastern South Africa will continue to steer Favio on a westerly path over the next 48 hours. As the cyclone travels over warmer ocean waters and encounters generally favorable environmental conditions, forecasters expect some additional strengthening before making landfall in southern Mozambique on Thurs., Feb. 22.

TRMM image of Tropical Cyclone Favio
Click image to enlarge

This image of Tropical Cyclone Favio, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite at 6:15 a.m. EST (1115 UTC) on Tues., Feb. 20, shows a strong, well organized cyclone off the coast of Madagascar. It contains a clear, distinct eye and generally symmetric shape with spiraling clouds, typical of a powerful cyclone. Image credit: NASA/GSFC. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, RSIS/Goddard Space Flight Center



Tropical Cyclone Favio Intensifies as it Travels the Indian Ocean

TRMM image of Tropical Cyclone Favio
Click image to enlarge

Newly formed tropical cyclone Favio continues to slowly gain intensity, but should remain over the open waters of the Indian Ocean through Sun., Feb. 18.

At 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) on Fri., Feb. 16, Tropical Cyclone Favio was located near 23.7 degrees south latitude and 58.0 degrees east longitude, or about 205 miles southeast of the island of Le Reunion, and was moving toward the southwest at 16 knots (18 mph). Maximum sustained winds were near 45 knots (52 mph), with gusts to 55 knots (63 mph). Wave heights close to the center of the storm had grown to about 16 feet.

A drop in wind shear (changing wind speed and direction with height) has allowed Favio to intensify modestly, although the outer fringes of the storm - especially in the southwest quadrant - remain poorly organized. A building ridge (elongated area of high pressure) to the south should steer Favio on a more westerly track over the weekend. Forecasters expect some additional strengthening, with maximum sustained winds reaching 50 knots (58 mph) by late Sat., Feb. 17.

This image of Tropical Cyclone Favio, taken by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite at 9:16 a.m. EST (1416 UTC) on Thurs., Feb. 15, shows a top-down-view of rain intensity. Estimated rain rates of 15 to 25 millimeters (0.59 inches to 0.98 inches) per hour were most common, with isolated areas of extreme rainfall (near 50 millimeters, or 1.97 inches per hour). TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, RSIS/Goddard Space Flight Center



b>New Tropical Cyclone in Indian Ocean Gaining Fury

Satellite image of Tropical Cyclone 14S


Following a brief lull in storminess, forecasters are once again closely monitoring a tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean.

At 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) on Wed., Feb. 14, Tropical Cyclone 14S was located near 15.4 degrees south latitude and 66.7 degrees east longitude, or about 720 miles east-northeast of the island of Le Reunion, and was moving toward the southwest at 13 knots (15 mph). Maximum sustained winds were near 35 knots (40 mph), with gusts to 45 knots (52 mph). Wave heights close to the center of the storm were about 10 feet.

Despite some wind shear (changing wind speed and direction with height), recent satellite imagery suggests an intensifying cyclone. Strong thunderstorms have developed near the storm's center of circulation and the overall structure of the cyclone continues to improve. A ridge (elongated region of high pressure) will continue to steer the storm toward the southwest and maximum sustained winds may increase to 50 knots (58 mph) by Fri., Feb. 16.

This satellite image of Tropical Cyclone 14S taken at 6:30 a.m. EST (1130 UTC) on Wed., Feb. 14, shows considerable deep, thick clouds (bright white), especially near and to the north of the center (red marking). Image credit: JTWC/SATOPS.

 
 
Mike Bettwy
Goddard Space Flight Center