May 19, 2013 - Tropical Cyclone Mahasen (01B) in the Bay of Bengal

Tropical Cyclone Mahasen (01B) in the Bay of Bengal

The first tropical cyclone in the North Indian Ocean this season formed in early May, 2013 and dissipated less than a week later, after bringing heavy rain to parts of India, and intense rain to Bangladesh and Burma where thousands of displaced persons were already living in flood prone camps.

Tropical Cyclone Mahasen began as a low pressure area in the southern Bay of Bengal, and by May 10 it had formed a tropical depression, and by the next day (May 11), the storm had attained gale-force winds and gained the name of Mahasen.

The storm reached a peak intensity of 50 mph (85 km/h) shortly before landfall near Chittagong, Bangladesh on May 16, where its approach had already driven thousands of residents into shelters. Shortly after landfall, the storm had destroyed thousands of huts, and claimed 6 lives. Despite the damage, Mahasen was considered a relative weak cyclone and came ashore at low tide, allowing the region to escape devastation.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite flew over Mahasen on May 14 at 5:35 UTC (1:35 a.m. EDT) and captured this true-color image. At that time, the center of the tightly wound, compact storm was located in the Bay of Bengal off the eastern coast of India. Near the center, high thunderstorm cloud tops cast shadows on the surrounding, lower clouds, indicating strong convection of a strengthening storm.

Once making landfall on May 16, Mahasen quickly weakened. In its final warning for the storm, issued on May 16, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warming Center (JTWC) reported that the storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 knots (85 km per hour) and gusts up to 55 knots (100 km/hr), but was dissipating over land.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 5/14/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC