Rare And Destructive 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. Some fluctuations in intensity are expected over the next day or so.
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.
Some continued intensification can’t yet be ruled out, due not only to warmer-than-average Arabian Sea water along its path, but also due to an impressive upper-atmospheric outflow channel stretching hundreds of miles to the east-northeast of Chapala from an upper-atmospheric low-pressure area over northern India.
These outflow channels essentially pull air laterally away from the top of the cyclone’s intense thunderstorms. To compensate, air flow near the surface needs to rush toward the center of circulation faster. When this happens, it gives a boost to the cyclone’s thunderstorms, which lowers the surface pressure and so on.
Steered by subtropical high pressure, Chapala is expected to track west or west-northwest over the next several days, making landfall along the coast of eastern Yemen or southwest Oman Monday.
Courtesy of wunderground.com