Cyclone Fabien has intensified into a Category 3-equivalent cyclone in the open Indian Ocean, and is forecast to not affect land.
As of 18:00 UTC, Cyclone Fabien is located near 7.9 degrees south, 74.5 degrees east, or around 2,485 km east-northeast of Réunion. The Meteo-France (MFR) has estimated Fabien to have 10-minute winds of 165 km/h (105 mph) and a central pressure of 962 millibars. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) estimated Fabien to have 1-minute sustained winds of 185 km/h (115 mph), making the storm a category 3-equivalent cyclone in the Saffir-Simpson scale. It is currently moving southwest at 15 kph (9 mph).
Fabien is forecast to move westwards as a subtropical ridge builds up to its southwest, before getting in a col between the ridge and another ridge that is currently steering it southwestward, which will make the system slow down. Uncertainty then increases after that as the storm’s movement will depend on how strong the storm will be.
Intensity-wise, Fabien should continue intensifying, before shear increases and lead to weakening as it becomes stationary under the col.
According to the MFR, Fabien has become the latest intense tropical cyclone on the basin in the month of May, surpassing Cyclone Billy-Lila of 1986 by 6 days. Earlier in its life, Fabien also formed at 3 degrees south, becoming the only known Southern Hemisphere cyclone ever to form that near the equator; such feats were only accomplished by Northern Hemisphere cyclones, such as Cyclone Agni of 2004 and Typhoon Vamei of 2001.
The storm currently poses no threat to land, with the island of Diego Garcia near the storm expected to miss the strongest winds. We’ll keep you updated as the storm progresses.