Tropical Cyclone Gati made landfall in Somalia on Sunday at sustained winds of 105 mph. Gati, the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the northern Indian Oceans, had sustained winds of 115 mph.
The storm is moving westward towards the coastal areas of Puntland and Somaliland.
#Cyclone #GATI about to landfall in #Somalia right now. A very powerful cyclone… The true intensity of this storm is unknown with official sources quoting vastly different strength. The structure of this storm suggests equivalent cat 2 or cat 3 hurricane. pic.twitter.com/dU3VhecNL0 — Scott Duncan (@ScottDuncanWX) November 22, 2020
Strongest tropical cyclone in eastern Africa
According to Sam Lillo, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Physical Sciences Laboratory, Gati is the strongest tropical cyclone recorded in the region. “Gati rapidly intensified from 40 mph to 115 mph, and is considered the largest 12- hour increase on record for t tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean,” Lillo said. Lillo said the small size of the cyclone, the warm water in the area combined with the low wind shear contributed to the rapid strengthening of Gati. Gati first developed as a low pressure area on Thursday. As of early Sunday morning, the system developed into a depression. In a few hours, Gati became a deep depression, and eventually into Cyclonic Storm Gati. On Sunday, 12 hours since it became a depression, Gati became a severe cyclonic storm. According to meteorologist and climate journalist Holthaus, with climate change, ocean temperatures get warmer and the atmosphere gets more moisture prompting a greater change of rapid intensification of tropical cylones such as Gati. The strength of Gati is part of that broader global pattern of stronger storms, Holthaus added.
Tropical Cyclone Gati brings more rains
The storms like Gati are expected to bring more rains. Northern Somalia normally gets 4 inches of rain per year. The tropical cyclone Gati however is expected to bring eight inches of rain in the next two days. Gati is therefore expected to bring “two years worth of rain in just two days, ” Holthaus said.
Some areas are expected to get even more than eight inches, he added.
Impact on the region
The system is expected to bring heavy rains and flashfloods in Socatra, Somalia, Yeman, and Western Oman from Sunday night to Tuesday, AccuWeather Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.
The storm may also bring intense, dangerous winds which could damage structures and trees and prompt huge waves in northwestern Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden which are dangerous for boating conditions.
The storm poses threats to shipping lanes that links Somalia and Gulf states. Storm has been felt in the coastal areas of Bari, which had been experiencing moderate and strong winds since early hours of November 22.
Tropical Cyclone Gati is expected to bring destruction of property and infrastructure including roads, buildings, and boats due to the strong winds. Fishing activities on these coastal areas should be discontinued immediately and communities living in Somalia and the storm path are advised to take the necessary precaution.
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