The AccuWeather Global Weather Center has issued a report on Tropical Cyclone Chapala, which is currently gaining strength and approaching Yemen and Oman in the Arabian Sea. The two countries are “bracing for impacts,” as the storm is currently packing winds equivalent to a major Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific Ocean [sustained wind speeds are between 130-156 mph – 209-251 km/h].
AccuWeather said: “Chapala is forecast to strengthen further with winds equal to that of a Category 5 hurricane by later Friday or Saturday and already ranks as one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record in the Northern Indian Ocean.”
Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls added: “Chapala could also become the strongest cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea. The pressure of Chapala is 922 mb, close to the lowest pressure of Gonu, 920 mb, in 2007.
“The main threat area from Chapala will be Yemen and Oman,” Nicholls said. The report also indicates that this tropical system will have no direct impacts on India as steering winds from the east will result in a track toward Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The latest forecast “continues to take Chapala westward before turning northwest as it approaches the coast of eastern Yemen on Monday. This scenario would bring little or no impacts to western Yemen and northeast Somalia.
Nicholls said: “Several inches of rain and flooding are possible, starting on Sunday as the cyclone approaches by remains offshore.” The report indicates that, even though the storm will probably weaken as it “approaches the Yemen coastline as drier air from the Arabian Peninsula begins to interact with the cyclone. Despite weakening, Chapala will still be a dangerous cyclone equivalent of a Category 1 or 2 hurricane as it makes landfall in eastern Yemen.
“Eastern Yemen and far southwest Oman should be on highest alert for this storm that is expected to bring flooding rain and damaging winds. Areas within 30 miles of landfall will see the worst conditions with hurricane-force winds and torrential downpours.
Locations in Yemen that may be impacted by the damaging hurricane-force winds of Chapala include Sayhut, Itab, Qishn, Haswayn, Nishtun and Al Ghaydah. Rainfall will average 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) across far eastern Yemen and parts of Oman near the border producing life-threatening flooding.
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather Meteorologist
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