TRMM caught Gelane at 09:34 UTC (4:34 a.m. ET). This time the TRMM satellite passed over during the daytime so a visible image from TRMM's VIRS instrument was also used to create a composite satellite image for the TRMM precipitation analysis. TRMM images are created at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. and TRMM is managed by NASA and the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA.
TRMM noticed that Gelane's eye was much smaller than how it appeared in the February 16 image. The eye is now about only 10 nautical miles in diameter. TRMM noticed that the heaviest rainfall now appears in the southwest quadrant of the eye, where rain rates were as high as 2 inches per hour.
At 10 a.m. ET (15:00 UTC) today, February 18, Gelane's maximum sustained winds were near 95 knots with higher gusts. It was about 400 nautical miles northeast of La Reunion Island, near 15.5 South and 62.2 East. It was moving at a slow 5 mph (4 knot) crawl in a south-southeasterly direction.
Gelane is now in an area of moderate vertical wind shear, but is still expected to strengthen a little more before the winds and cooler waters in its path start affecting the storm's strength. The storm is forecast to continue moving south and then south-southeast.
Text credit: Hal Pierce, NASA/SSAI and Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
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