Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"It's Like Déjà Vu All Over Again": 2nd Tropical Cyclone Hits Parts of Yemen Just One Week After Unprecedented Cyclone Chapala Strike

No, this isn't a gif loop of Cyclone Chapala from last week:

Rather, it is a 7-day loop of Cyclone Megh from EUMETSAT's Meteosat-7 satellite with images taken from 12Z Nov. 3, 2015 to 4Z Nov. 10, 2015.

The loop actually ends at 11PM EST Nov. 9th (4Z Nov. 10th).

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So I do need to note that a SECOND tropical cyclone -- this one named Cyclone Megh -- has struck some of the same areas in Yemen that experienced the all-but-unprecedented cyclone strike last week in the form of Cyclone Chapala, most notably, Socotra Island.

NASA satellite comparisons of Cyclone Chapala on October 31, 2015 and Cyclone Megh on November 7, 2015 in virtually the exact same spot.

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I wrote quite a bit about Cyclone Chapala here, here, here, and here. The last link includes lots of photographs of the flooding and destruction wrought on Al Mukalla.

The Capital Weather Gang had this informative entry (link embedded): Unprecedented: Second freak tropical cyclone to strike Yemen in the same week.

I've taken some of the images from there as well as from the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), specifically, it's Cyclone Megh updates.

U.S. JTWC advisory 20 for Cyclone Megh issued 0Z November 10, 2015.

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While Megh really pounded Socotra -- hit hard just one week ago by Chapala -- the storm weakened dramatically as it trekked "up" the Gulf of Aden over seas churned up by Chapala and thus cooler. There might have also been dry air entrainment.

The center of Megh is coming -- if it has not already -- close to the capital of Aden so about 300 miles west-southwest of where Chapalla hooked into the Yemeni coastline. At this point, Cyclone Megh is either just a remnant depression or a tropical storm (i.e., not quite a category 1 hurricane). Nevertheless, even a depression will bring tremendous amounts of moisture into a such a arid land with potentially disastrous flooding.

EUMETSAT satellite image of Cyclone Megh at 1730Z November 9, 2015.

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By the way, CWG had an entry saying that the models -- in particular, the HWRF -- did a "mediocre" job because they over-predicted the rainfall amounts that actually fell on Yemen around Al Mukalla.

The entry is here (link embedded): The mediocre model forecasts of Cyclone Chapala's rainfall over Yemen.

Cyclone Chapala rainfall estimates from the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite.

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In point of fact, as the above image from NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite shows, rainfall totals on mainland Yemen in and around Al Mukalla widespread 8+ inches with select areas receiving 16 inches in a region that averages 2 to 4 inches of rain a year.

The 6Z 11/2/2015 HWRF model showing 5-day rainfall totals for Cyclone Chapala.

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As shown in the image above, the HWRF model had forecasted very select spots in coastal mainland Yemen in and around Al Mukalla would get up to 32 inches. However, this was not observed. The over-forecasting was perhaps due to convective feedback involving the mountainous terrain.

Nevertheless, the above HWRF run shows a much more widespread 4 to 8 inches, which was observed. Furthermore, the rainfall that fell in such an arid land caused disastrous flooding.

Socotra had more with 16 to 24 inches of rainfall according to the GPM satellite.

For what it's worth:

The HWRF model showing cumulative precipitation through hour 42 for Cyclone Megh in Yemen. This was the 6Z 11/9/2015 run and valid through 0Z 11/11/2015.

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Again, for a recap with photos of Cyclone Chapala's effects on Yemen, please see this entry I wrote.

The death toll from Chapala is put at 11 in Yemen including on Socotra Island and the mainland, but I just don't believe that number.

No, it's not that I want the fatalities to be higher. I just think given the extreme event that happened in place lacking any capacity to handle it, the figure of 11 is unbelievable.

NASA Landsat-8 image of a portion of coastal Yemen on October 19, 2015.

This is the region where Cyclone Chapala came ashore 16 days later. 

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Oh, yes, CWG also had this entry showing the dramatic changes after Chapala. It is one of those "interactive slider" displays where you move your mouse over the image to see before and after. The before and after images are posted above and below, respectively.


NASA Landsat-8 image of a portion of coastal Yemen on November 4, 2015 -- 1 day after Cyclone Chapala hit.

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OK, that ends this entry. I wasn't intending to post this entry but rather just a general update, but it seemed important for me to note this weather event in the very same part of the world as Cyclone Chapala, a topic I talked about at length.

I had a good gym workout tonight after work. It is a rainy, chilly night here in D.C., and I wanted to talk about that and post some pictures. I'll try to do so tomorrow but I'm not sure I'm going to take the computer home as I have after work plans at Old Ebbitt Grill with two former colleagues and friends, DD and Jeremy.

--Regulus

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