A rare tropical cyclone is closing on the Arabian Peninsula. The Yemeni island of Socotra has already felt the storm. Chapala has caused widespread flooding, storm surges, heavy rains and strong winds. Houses have been destroyed and people are sheltering in makeshift shelters.
Socotra is an outpost of Yemen in the Arabian Sea. It lies 368 km off the mainland which is in the path of the storm.
Currently the storm is classed as a cat. four storm. Like Hurricane Patricia, it too has bumped up from a cat. three very quickly. It is expected to hit the port city of Mukalla, population 300 000 with about 500 mm of rain – equivalent to five years of rainfall in 24 hours.
Because much of the area in the path of the storm is very dry, the rainfall is likely to run off quickly, creating flash flooding.
Yemen is already in a humanitarian crisis due to its civil war. The combination of Saudi air strikes and back and forth of the two fighting groups has destroyed infrastructure and demolished many homes. Wounded people are unable to receive adequate medical help. Some are fleeing to Africa to avoid the fighting. Over half the population currently has no secure safe drinking water.
Prior to this catastrophic storm four out of five people in Yemen needed some form of humanitarian aid. Where the aid will come to help the people survive the storm damage is unknown.
Meteorologists have predicted more ‘superstorms’ in the future as the Earth’s climate warms. Climatologists have modelled many areas around the world that are vulnerable to large storm surges from these large storms. In August climatologists published work that pointed out that the Persian Gulf is vulnerable to storm surge from a tropical cyclone.
The Gulf Today
The Oman Daily Observer
Local imams have announced that in order to prevent illness, people may drink water during the day.
In May, extreme heat was responsible for nearly 2000 deaths in India.
The body keeps its internal temperature within a narrow range normally. When the ability to maintain a normal range of 37 to 38 degrees Celsius is lost, serious health problems start. A two degree rise will send information to the brain to slow down and fatigue is a symptom. Between 40 and 41 degrees heat exhaustion will causes vomiting, cramps and headaches. If measures are not taken immediately to cool the body, sweating ceases and organ shut down starts with the real possibility of death occurring.
Cyclonic conditions have hit Australia, killing three people. Rainfall in excess of 300 millimetres fell in less than 24 hours in a town north of Sydney. This amounts to approximately six times the normal yearly precipitation. Homes were lifted off their foundations and washed away by flood waters in the town of Dungong.
Electricity to over 200 000 customers in the state was disrupted and evacuation alerts were issued.
Winds of 100km have stripped tonnes of sand off famous Bondai Beach. Sydney has been hard hit as well. A deep low pressure system is stalled to the east of the coast and has been battering the city for the past three days. Another big storm is poised to hit the area from the north in the next few hours.
Ferry service in the Sydney area has been cancelled due to the high winds and rough seas. A rogue wave of 11metres(36 feet) was reported. The cruise ship Carnival Spirit carrying 2500 passengers was unable to enter Sydney Harbour due to the dangerous conditions. They are hoping for a chance to disembark their people on Wednesday morning.
Sydney Harbour Master Captain Philip Holliday stated that this was the first time that he had to close the harbour due to weather.
Small increases in global temperatures can translate into extreme weather events. NOAA has released its measurements of global temperatures for March. It has been the hottest March since 1880. It is expected that droughts will be longer and more severe. Wind speeds will increase. When rain falls, it will deliver more water that what is usual now.
As the world continues to warm, some agricultural land may be abandoned, people may be forced from their homes to become migrants, tropical disease vectors may also spread into new areas. As often happens in making predictions, many of the changes are as yet unknown.
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