MODIS captured an image of Cleo today, December 8 at 08:15 UTC (03:15 a.m. ET) as it passed overhead from its orbit in space. The development of an eye is an indication that Cleo strengthened overnight, and is now a tropical cyclone.
Cleo has sustained winds near 109 mph (95 knots) with higher gusts. Hurricane-force winds only extend out to 25 miles from the center right now, while tropical storm-force winds extend as far as 65 miles. Cleo is at the top end of the Category Two Saffir-Simpson scale. Category three cyclones have sustained winds from 111-130 mph.
Cleo was located 340 miles southeast of Diego Garcia, near 10.8 degrees South latitude and 76.4 degrees East longitude. It was moving west-southwest near 12 mph. Currently, Cleo isn't threatening any landmasses.
Because Cleo is in a favorable area for strengthening, it is expected to reach Category 3 status later today or tomorrow. The current forecast track takes Cleo passing well to the north of La Reunion and Mauritius.
Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
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