NASA MODIS Image of the day
Tropical Cyclone Mekunu (02A) off the Horn of Africa
Tropical Cyclone Mekunu (02A) off the Horn of Africa
May 26, 2018

Only days after a rare tropical cyclone crossed the Gulf of Aden to strike Somalia, a second storm swept by the Horn of Africa to make landfall near Salalah, Oman. This second storm, Tropical Cyclone Mekunu, roared ashore in the early hours of May 26, 2018, as a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Packing maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 km/h), Mekunu is the strongest storm ever to make landfall in this region.

The first storm, Tropical Cyclone Sagar, made landfall in Somalia on May 19, bringing more than a year’s worth of rainfall to parts of that arid country. Somalia has been struggling with extended drought as well as with civil conflict which has displaced residents and damaged infrastructure, making it vulnerable to storm damage. The rains brought severe flooding and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Maximum sustained winds reached 65 miles per hour (100 km/h) - below hurricane strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale, but still strong enough to produce damage. Sagar became a tropical depression as it moved inland, bringing soaking rain to Ethiopia and Djibouti.

While Tropical Cyclone Sagar moved southwesterly down the Gulf of Aden from its origins in the Arabian Sea, Tropical Cyclone Mekunu formed further south in the Arabian Sea and travelled quickly to the northwest. It barreled across the island of Socotra in the northeastern Gulf of Aden before battering both Yemen and Oman as it made a historic landfall near Salalah. According to ReliefWeb, The heavy rains and flooding on the island of Socotra have reportedly caused significant damage to public infrastructure and loss of life, although precise information of the extent of damage is not yet available.

Early reports from Yemen and Oman also speak of severe flooding, with concerns raised about potential of damage overwhelming response capabilities, especially in Yemen which has been suffering from both a long-running civil war and a severe outbreak of cholera.

Dhalkut, Oman, which sits near the border of Yemen reported 4.87 inches (123.7 mm) of rainfall during May 25, before Mekunu made landfall. Much more rain is expected before the storm moves inland and dissipates. The average annual rainfall for Salalah, roughly 50 mi (80.5 km) from Dhalkut, measures 5 inches (127 mm).

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 5/23/2018
Resolutions: 1km (788.8 KB), 500m (2.5 MB), 250m (6.3 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
 Courtesy of NASA MODIS Website

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