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Hurricane Season 2010: Tropical Storm Fami (Southern Indian Ocean)
02.04.10
 
February 4, 2010

infrared view of Tropical Depression Fami - stretched thin and fading › Larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite AIRS instrument captured Fami (blue) on Feb. 3 at 09:35 UTC (4:35 a.m. ET), and showed the system more resembling a cold front than a tropical cyclone, as it appears stretched out from northwest to southeast. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA's Aqua Satellite Sees Tropical Depression Fami Fading Fast

Now that Fami has crossed Madagascar, its fading fast. NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared satellite image earlier today that showed the storm was elongating and losing its circulation.

NASA's Aqua satellite AIRS instrument captured Fami on Feb. 3 at 09:35 UTC (4:35 a.m. ET), and showed the system more resembling a cold front than a tropical cyclone, as it appears stretched out from northwest to southeast. There are also very few strong thunderstorms left in what was once the center.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued their last advisory on the system at 1 p.m. ET on February 2 after it crossed Madagascar, and entered the Southern Indian Ocean. At that time it was located approximately 150 nautical miles southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar, near 21.0 South and 45.5 East. It had maximum sustained wind near 34 mph, but was rapidly fading. Fami tracked eastward at 11 mph (10 knots) into open waters.

Animated infrared satellite imagery showed a significant decrease and disorganization of deep convection after Fami tracked over Madagascar, as a result of friction from sweeping over mountainous areas.

Fami could dissipate by Thursday, February 4. However, there is a slight chance that Fami could briefly regain some life and transition into an extra-tropical storm. Forecasters will be watching it closely.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

February 2, 2010

An infrared image of Fami's cloud temperatures as it was approaching landfall in Madagascar. > View larger image
NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured an infrared image of Fami's cloud temperatures on February 1 at 2231 UTC (5:31 p.m ET) as it was approaching landfall in Madagascar. Heavy rain was falling from high thunderstorm cloud tops that were as cold as minus 63F.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
This image reveals that once Fami made landfall, the storm was developing an eye (blue) in the upper levels of the storm. > View larger image
This Microwave AIRS satellite image reveals that once Fami made landfall, the storm was developing an eye (blue) in the upper levels of the storm.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Satellite Sees Tropical Storm Fami Form, Fast and Furious

NASA's Aqua satellite caught the thirteenth tropical cyclone in the southern Indian Ocean form very quickly. In 12 hours a low grew into a tropical storm named Fami and made a fast landfall in Madagascar around 1 a.m. ET (0600 UTC) today, February 2.

At 1 a.m. ET (0600 UTC), Tropical Storm Fami had maximum sustained winds near 46 mph (40 knots) and was located in southern Madagascar, about 235 nautical miles west-southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar. That's near 21.2 South and 43.8 East. Fami is moving east-southeast near 9 mph (8 knots).

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite has the capability to create visible, infrared and microwave images of tropical cyclones. AIRS infrared and microwave images both showed very high, powerful thunderstorms in Fami, even now that it has made landfall. A microwave image was created combining AIRS and Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) data. AMSU is another instrument that flies on NASA's Aqua satellite.

The microwave image revealed that despite being over land, Fami has developed an eye feature developing in the mid- to upper-levels of the system. That is an indication that the storm is maintaining its strength, and likely feeding on tropical moisture from the warm waters that surround southern Madagascar. The microwave image also revealed cold areas in the storm that indicate ice in cloudtops and heavy precipitation. Around the eye are the coldest cloud temperatures, as cold as -63F. Microwave data suggests cloud heights to the 200 millibar level, near the tropopause.

Fami's track over the next two days and strength is one that forecasters are still pondering. One computer model forecasts that the friction caused by Fami's track over land will cause its dissipation, while another computer model (the ECMF) brings Fami back into the open ocean, then dissipating from increasing wind shear. Forecasters are watching the storm as it continues to track over land.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center