Tropical Cyclone Bondo spent the days before Christmas in the Seychelles north of Madagascar, whipping those islands with powerful Category 2-strength winds. The storm then turned south and grazed along the northwestern coast Madagascar on December 24, while building strength to Category 4, according to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. The cyclone then came ashore at the north end of Madagascar on December 25, where more than 4.5 million people lived within 200 kilometers of the storm.
This photo-like image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite on December 25, 2006, at 9:55 a.m. local time (6:55 UTC), while the storm’s center was coming ashore. Bondo had well-defined spiral arms of rain clouds and thunderstorms at the time of this image, and a distinct, cloud-filled (or “closed”) eye at its center. It was not as strong a storm as it had been the previous day, however, as coming ashore robbed it of the source of its power—the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and mainland Africa. According to the University of Hawaii’s Tropical Storm Information Center, peak winds had fallen to around 110 kilometers per hour (70 miles per hour), still quite potentially destructive.
NASA image by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center.