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Cyclone Gael Skirts Reunion and Mauritius February 6, 2009
Cyclone Gael can be seen attaining hurricane force north of Reunion early Thursday.
A cluster of thunderstorms and adjacent disturbed weather in the central Indian Ocean coalesced into Cyclone Gael early in the week.

The clockwise circulation of the storm became tighter as it passed westward over open waters, eventually skirting the islands of Mauritius and Reunion Wednesday night and Thursday.

This increased the maximum sustained winds near the cyclonic center to hurricane force, but only storm-force winds affected the nearby islands.

Meteorologists at the U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicted that Gael would begin to curve southward before striking the large Indian Ocean island of Madagascar.

This would spare the island further damage and flooding in the wake of two cyclones that struck northern and southern parts of the island almost simultaneously during January.

Cyclone Gael Track

Satellite Loop Data: CIMSS