Tropical Storm Benilde formed over the southern Indian Ocean on December 28, 2011. On December 30, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that Benilde, now a cyclone, was located roughly 545 nautical miles (1,010 kilometers) southeast of Diego Garcia. Benilde had maximum sustained winds of 50 knots (95 kilometers per hour) with gusts up to 65 knots (120 kilometers per hour).
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on December 30, 2011. Benilde sports both a distinct eye and spiral shape characteristic of strong storms.
The JTWC forecast that Benilde would continue moving toward the west and southwest, over the open ocean, in the next few days.
NASA image courtesy LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.