The AccuWeather Global Weather Center has reported that “Yemen is bracing for impacts from a small, but currently powerful Tropical Cyclone Chapala in the Arabian Sea.” The storm, whose intensity was at one point equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds between 130-156 mph – 209-251 km/h, has now weakened to the strength of a Category 2 Atlantic or Pacific tropical cyclone.
“This weakening trend will continue the next 24 to 48 as Chapala moved into the Gulf of Aden and eventually makes landfall in central Yemen on Tuesday before eventually dissipating over the interior of the country,” AccuWeather said.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said: “Chapala became the second strongest cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea. The pressure of Chapala was 922 mb, close to the lowest pressure of Gonu, 920 mb, in 2007.” He also indicated that the last cyclone to strike Yemen was Keila in 2011, which was equivalent to only a weak tropical storm.
Chapala is forecast to weaken, prior to making landfall Tuesday morning, local time, but will still be stronger than Keila. The storm’s main threat is to central and southeastern Yemen, “where bands of heavy rain and gusty winds began to arrive on Monday. Conditions will worsen into Tuesday as the cyclone approaches the central coast.
“The latest forecast takes Chapala inland on Tuesday near Al Mukalla. Damaging wind and flooding rainfall are likely near the point of landfall. Rainfall is expected to be 5-10 inches (125-250 mm), which is more than the region receives in a given year.”
The report also noted that the seas along the coast of Somalia and Yemen will build substantially ahead of Chapala, with “offshore waves within 160 km (100 miles) of the center that will range between 4 and 8 meters (15 and 25 feet).”
Although Chapala will weaken dramatically as it approaches the Yemen coastline, it is still a “very powerful cyclone now, and could still be equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane as it makes landfall in Yemen. The farther west it goers, however, the “more time there will be for dry air to be pulled into the cyclone causing more significant weakening and less threat for damaging winds.
Areas within 50 km (30 miles) of landfall will endure the worst conditions with damaging winds, coastal flooding and torrential downpours. Locations in Yemen that may be impacted by the damaging hurricane-force winds of Chapala include Balhaf, Al Mukalla and Ash Shihr.
Farther inland and coastal areas away from the core of the storm will be at risk for dangerous flooding; however, damaging winds will be unlikely.”
Source: AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister
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