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Friday, January 28, 2011

Hurricane Season 2011: Tropical Storm Bianca (Southern Indian Ocean)

NASA Satellite Eyes a Stronger Cyclone Bianca That May Boomerang Back to Australia

Rapid Response Team Tropical Cyclone Bianca appears to have currently cut ties with Western Australia as it moves west and away from land, however, forecasters believe it will boomerang southeast toward Perth over the weekend. NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Bianca and it appeared stronger and more organized now that it is away from the influence of land and headed into the open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Bianca off the coast of Western Australia on January 28 at 06:30 UTC (1:30 a.m. EST, 2:30 a.m. January 29 Australia/Brisbane local time). Bianca had strengthened since it moved away from the coast and its center was clearly visible in the latest image.

Warnings are posted for coastal areas and coastal waters. There is a Coastal Waters Wind Warning from Mandurah to Walpole. A Strong Wind Warning is also currently in effect from Mandurah to Cape Leeuwin and from Cape Leeuwin to Walpole. Winds are forecast to increase from the east-southeast between 20 and 30 knots (23 mph to 34 mph or 37 km/hr to 55 km/hr) late in the day on Saturday. Rough surf is likely with waves to 2 meters (~6.5 feet).

At 1800 UTC on January 28, Tropical Cyclone Bianca was located near 26.2 South latitude and 107.7 East longitude. Bianca had maximum sustained winds near 75 knots (86 mph or 138 km/hr.) and is a Category One Cyclone/hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. It was moving south-southwest near 13 knots and is expected to turn back toward the southwest.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast track takes Bianca back toward a landfall near Perth in the southwestern part of Australia by Sunday, January 30. Residents around the area of Perth should closely monitor their local forecasts over the weekend.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

This article was sponsored by Forensic Science Books.

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