Friday, October 30, 2015

Rare tropical cyclone: Yemen, Oman expect eight years of rain in two days as Chapala forms in Arabian Sea

A rare intense tropical cyclone has formed in the Arabian Sea and is forecast to dump eight years of rain in about 48 hours on typically arid regions of the Arabian Peninsula.

Cyclone Chapala has already generated sustained winds of 95 knots (175 km/h), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. It was also producing significant wave heights of more than seven metres.

Eric Holthaus, a US meteorologist, estimates the storm will dump as much as eight times the annual rainfall of coastal regions of Yemen and Oman. These regions typically collect just 100-130 millimetres of rain a year.

The port city of Salahah, in Oman, may face a coastal storm surge of as much as 4.5 metres, Mr Holthaus said, adding that it is likely to be heavy deluge and flooding that may pose the bigger threat.

"Tropical cyclones are an extreme rarity near the Arabian Peninsula," Mr Holthaus said. "Since reliable records begin in 1979, there have been only two hurricane-strength storms to make landfall in Oman, and the only storm to hit Yemen topped out with winds at a paltry 35 miles per hour [56 km/h], barely tropical storm strength." 

Cyclone Chapala is the latest in a year of extreme weather.

Vredendal in South Africa earlier this week set the hottest October temperature recorded anywhere and in any year with 48.4 degrees, according Jeff Master of the Weather Underground blog.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Patricia intensified into the strongest tropical storm ever recorded in the western hemisphere in just a few days.

The Pacific Ocean has also seen an unusually large number of intense tropical cyclones this year, including Cyclone Racquel, the earliest large storm to form off Australia's north-east coast.

Global temperatures are also tracking well above previous levels so far in 2015 as the powerful El Niño event in the Pacific adds to background warming from climate change.

  • Cyclone Chapala Rapidly Intensifies to a Category 4 Storm in Arabian Sea...
Cyclone Chapala could become the strongest on record in the Arabian Sea and may make an unprecedented landfall at hurricane strength along the coast of Yemen or southwest Oman in the days ahead.

Chapala rapidly intensified and is estimated to have winds of Category 4 hurricane intensity and may reach Category 5 intensity soon.

While direct measurements from reconnaissance aircraft are not available over the Arabian Sea, Chapala's rate of intensification from a high-end tropical storm to a high-end Category 4 storm in 24 hours ending 2 a.m. EDT Friday morning was quite impressive for this part of the world.

Tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean basin, which includes the Arabian Sea, are simply known in English as "cyclones" or "cyclonic storms" regardless of strength. There are no special terms such as "hurricane" or "typhoon" applied based on reaching a certain intensity, but the India Meteorological Department does apply various adjectives such as "severe" or "very severe" to describe different intensity levels..............



  1. 'Extremely severe' cyclone heading for Yemen, Oman: UN...

    The UN's weather agency warned Friday a "super cyclonic storm" was heading towards Oman and war-ravaged Yemen, where it could strike with hurricane force and dump torrential rain that may trigger landslides.

    Named Chapala, the storm is brewing in the Arabian Sea and is expected to make landfall in northern Yemen and the adjoining Oman coast around midnight Monday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

    "Tropical cyclones are extremely rare over the Arabian peninsula," WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis told reporters, adding that the storm might well be the first of its kind to hit Yemen.

    It is set to hit at a time when Yemen remains wracked by a conflict that has claimed nearly 5,000 lives since March.

    "We hope the humanitarian impact (of Chapala) on Yemen will be limited," Nullis said.

    The WMO described Chapala as "an extremely severe cyclonic storm."

    Chapala is poised to strengthen to become a "super cyclonic storm" within the next 24 hours, packing wind speeds of between 220 and 230 kilometers (127-143 miles) per hour in the next 24 hours, it added.

    That is the equivalent of a category four hurricane................

  2. A rare tropical cyclone has hit the remote Yemeni island of Socotra, killing at least one person before heading towards the Yemeni mainland...

    Many residents took shelter in schools and caves as the storm, named Chapala, brought hurricane-force winds, heavy rain and powerful waves to the island.

    Photos and videos posted online showed water flowing through the streets of the provincial capital, Hadibu.

    It is believed to be the most powerful storm that Yemen has seen in decades.

    The UN's weather agency has described the cyclone as "extremely severe".

    Forecasters say it could deluge parts of Yemen with up to 500mm (20in) of rain in two days - 10 times the annual average.

    At 06:00 GMT on Monday, the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center said Chapala was generating gusts of up to 240km/h (150mph), equivalent to a category 4 hurricane.

    Gusts of up to 165 km/h are forecast for when the storm makes landfall just west of the city of Mukalla, on the south coast of the Yemeni mainland, at around 06:00 GMT on Tuesday.........


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