Saturday, 18 October 2008

Tropical storm approaching

A tropical depression has been evolving in the vicinity of Diego Garcia over the past week. The non-frontal synoptic scale low-pressure system definitely has some indications of cyclonic wind circulation as can be seen in the adjacent synoptic chart and satellite image courtesy of the Mauritius Meteorological Service. Winds circulate clockwise around low-pressure and cyclonic systems in the southern hemisphere. Gusts associated with tropical depressions are generally less than 90 km per hour whereas in a true tropical cyclone winds can range from 150 to over 300 km per hour. The red cross in the satellite image indicates our approximate position and we expect to receive the full force of the storm tomorrow evening followed by two days of strong winds and heavy showers. We will spend some time tomorrow battening down the hatches and ensuring that all the equipment in the labs is securely fastened! If physically possible I will add some photos of the cyclone and the Dr Fridtjof Nansen weathering the storm!

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