Gaja (Southern Indian Ocean)

Nov. 15, 2018 – NASA Finds a Cloud-Filled Eye in Tropical Cyclone Gaja

Tropical Cyclone Gaja continued to organize in the Bay of Bengal as it made its approach to southeastern India when NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite passed overhead and captured an image. The image revealed that Gaja had developed a cloud-filled eye.

Suomi NPP image of Gaja
On Nov. 15, the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Gaja in the Bay of Bengal approaching southern India (left). Credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)

The Bay of Bengal is in the Northern Indian Ocean basin, east of India.

On Nov. 15, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite took a visible light image of Tropical Storm Gaja. It revealed what appeared to be a cloud-filled eye. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center confirmed that “animated multispectral satellite imagery shows a more compact system with a dimple feature on the central convection – indicative of a formative eye.”

On Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) Gaja’s maximum sustained winds were near 55 knots (63 mph/102 kph), but weakening is expected as it nears the coast of southeastern India. Gaja was located near 10.8 degrees north latitude 80.7 east longitude. It was about 145 nautical miles south-southeast of Chennai, India.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center or JWTC noted that Gaja will move west-southwest and is approaching landfall near Cuddalore before Nov. 16 at 4 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC). After crossing southern India, the storm will re-strengthen in the Arabian Sea, before dissipating after 5 days.

By Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center