The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite captured the birth of Tropical Storm Cleo in the southern Indian Ocean today, December 7.
TRMM is managed by both NASA and the Japanese Space Agency, and provides rainfall estimates of tropical systems from its orbit in space. Data from TRMM earlier today revealed that there are some areas around Cleo's circulation where rain is falling at about one inch per hour.
At 1200 UTC (7 a.m. ET) today, Cleo had maximum sustained winds near 52 mph with higher gusts. Cleo was centered approximately 425 nautical miles east-southeast of the island of Diego Garcia, near 9.1 South latitude and 79.4 East longitude. Diego Garcia is a coral atoll and the largest island of the Chagos Archipelago. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 1,000 miles south of the southern coast of India. Cleo was moving west near 13 mph.
Cleo strengthened quickly because of light wind shear and very warm ocean waters. Those two factors enable a tropical cyclone to strengthen, and are available in Cleo's path so the storm is expected to continue intensifying.