January 4, 2014 - Tropical Cyclone Bejisa (06S) off Madagascar

Tropical Cyclone Bejisa (06S) off Madagascar

The first tropical cyclone of 2014 formed over the Indian Ocean in late December, 2013 before raking the French Island of Réunion on January 2.

On December 30 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Bejisa and captured this true-color image of the storm off the northern tip of Madagascar. At that time, the cyclone had a tight apostrophe-shape curled around a small center. Rain bands extend over Madagascar.

The storm intensified over the next several days, and struck Réunion at approximately 1200 UTC (7:00 a.m. EST). The point of landfall was near 21.2 S, 54.8 E, with 1-minute maximum sustained winds of about 203 km/h (126 mph). The strongest winds, however, were mostly on the western side of the storm, and remained over ocean. Winds of 150 km/h (94 mph) were recorded over land, and 24 hour rainfall totals greater than 100 mm (3.9 in). Damage across Réunion was reported as widespread, with many trees uprooted and widespread power outages. At one point, about 82,000 homes had lost power. At least one person died, and 15 were injured.

On January 3, at 1800 UTC (1:00 p.m. EST) the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that Bejisa was tracking southwestward, and was located about 240 mi (386 km) south of St. Denis, La Réunion. Interaction with wind shear had caused weakening, and maximum sustained winds had fallen to 69 mph (111 km/h). Because of increasing vertical wind shear and increasingly cold waters Bejisa is predicted to dissipate over water within the next 48 and 72 hours.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 12/30/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC