A cyclone warning had been issued near to where an international search effort is taking place to locate possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 jet, which had 239 people on board. The area where the potential debris was first identified by the Australian authorities is marked by strong currents and rough seas, and the ocean depth varies between 3,770 feet and 23,000 feet.
Tropical Cyclone Gillian had the potential to disrupt the intense search operation in the southern Indian Ocean. The cyclone had already brought some damage to Christmas Island, an Australian territory, but had yet to reach the remote stretch of water the search is taking place, about 1,000 miles off the south-western coast of Australia.
“A cyclone warning has been declared for Tropical Cyclone Gillian, which is located in the southern corridor. Very strong winds and rough seas are expected,” Malaysia’s acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said. On March 23, Gillian’s maximum sustained winds peaked near 161.1 mph making it a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Fortunately, Gillian has diminished in strength, so all of the regional warnings were canceled on March 23.
Although Gillian no longer poses a threat to the search effort, the passage of weather fronts moving through the search area, bringing rain and strong winds, is the main threat to the search at this time. Flight 370 went missing on March 8 shortly after leaving Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on its way to Beijing, China and has been determined to have crashed into the Indian Ocean. The search operation is ongoing.
WeatherBug hopes the search will end with a positive conclusion. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
Stay Safe. Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team