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Hurricane Season 2007: Clovis (Western Pacific)
A Stormy Start to the New Year in the Indian Ocean

TRMM image of Tropical Storm Clovis
Click image to enlarge.

Tropical cyclones often form in the Indian Ocean between December and March, and this year seems to be following that trend. In the past week alone, two tropical cyclones, Clovis and Isobel, have formed in the south Indian Ocean and threatened land.

Tropical Cyclone Clovis Strikes Madagascar

Tropical Cyclone Clovis struck Madagascar about 7 p.m. EST Tue., Jan 2 (0000 UTC Wed., Jan. 3) with maximum sustained winds around 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph). Wind gusts at landfall may have been considerably higher. There were no immediate reports of major damage.

At 4 a.m. EST (0900 UTC) on Wed., Jan. 3, Tropical Cyclone Clovis was about 135 miles southeast of Antananarivo, Madagascar, with movement toward the west at 5 knots (6 mph). Maximum sustained winds were still near 65 knots (75 mph) with gusts to 80 knots (92 mph).

An area of high pressure to the southeast of Madagascar will help track Clovis further inland by midday Wed., Jan. 3; rapidly weakening as it interacts with high terrain and wind shear (changing wind speed and direction with height).

By Thurs., Jan. 4, the remnants of Clovis will emerge back into the Indian Ocean off Madagascar's southeast coast and may re-intensify.

This satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Clovis taken at 8:58 a.m. EST on Tues., Jan. 2 (1358 UTC), shows a top-down-view of rain intensity obtained from TRMM's sensors. Estimated rain rates across much of the cyclone ranged from 15 to 25 millimeters (0.59 to 0.98 inches) per hour, with isolated areas of more intense rainfall, up to 40 millimeters (1.57 inches) per hour (red shading). TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Mike Bettwy
Goddard Space Flight Center