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Imani reaches cyclone status 'by the tail'

Just like the old song by Buck Owens, "Tiger by the Tail," NASA satellite imagery showed that Imani appears to have developed a "tail" of clouds extending southeast from its center. It has indeed become a "tiger" because it is now a category one cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale as it continues to move through the Southern Indian Ocean.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Cyclone Imani on March 25 at 0747 UTC (3:47 a.m. EDT) and it showed Imani developed a "tail" of clouds, extending to its southeast.

This morning, March 25, at 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT) Imani had maximum sustained winds near 80 mph (70 knots). Cyclone-force winds extended up to 30 miles from its center, while tropical storm-force winds extended as far as 85 miles from its center. Cyclone Imani was located about 780 nautical miles southwest of the Cocos Islands near 19.1 South and 85.5 East. It was moving south-southeast near 9 mph (8 knots) and kicking up 16 foot-high seas.

Satellite imagery has given an insight into what is happening within Cyclone Imani as well as its visible appearance. Multispectral satellite imagery showed a strengthening central convection (rapidly rising air that forms the thunderstorms that power a tropical cyclone) in the northwestern quadrant of the storm. In the southwestern quadrant, however, it's a different story.

An upper level trough (an elongated area of low pressure) nearby has sheared or cut-off convection. That wind shear will strengthen over the next day and a half that will cause Imani to dissipate within two days.

Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
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