The strongest tropical cyclone ever measured in the northern Indian Ocean, tropical Cyclone Gati arrived in Somalia, East Africa on Sunday.
It’s the first recorded instance of a hurricane-strength hitting the country with sustained winds of around 105 mph. Gati is much more intense than the previous strongest storm to hit Somalia.
In 2018, tropical Cyclone Sagar crashed into northern Somalia near the Djibouti border with winds of around 60 mph and heavy rain.
Climate experts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Physical Sciences Laboratory say that Gati is the strongest tropical cyclone that has been recorded in the region.
They added that its escalation from about 40 mph to 115 mph was the largest 12-hour increase on record for a tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean. The storms usually form then begin to move west towards the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. This runs into another force field with devastating tendencies around coastal terrains.
The storms are leading to a lot more rain. The attendant effect of climate change is causing spikes in ocean temperatures and a moister atmosphere. These are major triggers for tropical cyclones.
Although Northern Somalia gets about 4 inches of rain per year on the average, projections show that Gati could bring 8 inches over the next two days — “two years’ worth of rainfall in just two days,” an observer adds.
A United Nations alert warned the storm posed an immediate threat to the marine shipping lane that links Somalia and the Gulf states.
Threats of heavy rain and flash flooding may hit regions like Socotra, Somalia, Yemen, and western Oman from Sunday night into Monday and potentially Tuesday.
SBC Somali TV reports eight people have died in the storm, several others wounded including five fishermen from Yemen.
Reports show that streets and houses in Hurdiya and Bosaso have been flooded. Several buildings in the eastern Somalia town Hafun are equally affected with dozens of people being evacuated.