Last update: November 14th, 2019 at 11:00 am
On April 14, 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured a true-color image of strengthening Tropical Cyclone Fantala heading towards the Republic of Mauritius. The storm was sporting a well-defined eye and a tight apostrophe shape with feeder bands of heavy storms wrapping into the center. At 0148 UTC on April 14 (April 13 at 9:48 a.m. EDT), only 5 hours before this image was captured, Fantala’s maximum sustained winds were estimated at 104 mph (167 km/h), which is the equivalent of a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.
Tropical Cyclone Fantala formed on April 11 from System 99S near 13.0 degrees south and 71.2 degrees east in the Southern Indian Ocean, which is about 354 nautical miles southeast of Diego Garcia. The storm has continued to intensify while moving westward over open waters.
At 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT) on Friday, April 15, Fantala’s maximum sustained winds were near 132 mph (213 km/h) and still increasing. Fantala was a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale, making it a major hurricane. Regional warnings were put in effect for the Republic of Mauritius. A strong wind warning was in force for Rodrigues, Mauritius, St Brandon and Agalega in the Southern Indian Ocean. Fantala was generating 30-foot high waves as it was moving to the west at 10 knots.
As of the evening of April 15, Tropical Cyclone Fantala was still increasing in power. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) expects winds to peak at 132 mph (212 km/h) on April 17. The storm will then curve away from Mauritius and head toward the southeast where it will slowly weaken.