DISCUSSION: On Saturday, July 16th, the first cyclone of the year formed in the Southern Indian Ocean. Tropical cyclones in this part of the world are quite rare during this time of year as it is currently winter in the Southern Hemisphere. However, this year warmer than normal water temperatures have persisted throughout the entire basin setting the stage for Tropical Cyclone Abela to form. NASA's RapidScat instrument, which is aboard the International Space Station (ISS), measured Abela's wind speed on July 17th and recorded the strongest winds on the eastern side of the cyclone near 65 mph. This would classify the tropical cyclone as a strong tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Saffir-Simpson wind speed scale. This makes Abela just shy of hurricane status by about 10 mph.
Tropical Cyclone Abela poses no threat to any land in the near future as the storm begins to slide further southwest into cooler waters. Unfavorable atmospheric conditions and the cooler waters will lead to the eventual destruction of Abela. The Southern Indian Ocean tropical cyclone season runs from July 1st to June 30th of the following year. A typical season averages 10 tropical cyclones, with the first storm usually appearing in mid-November. To learn more about other high-impact weather across the Indian Ocean, be sure to click here!