Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 November 2019

Cyclone Maha growing stronger, but UAE set to escape brunt

Officials say low-lying areas of the east coast are most at risk from a storm surge

Tropical cyclone Maha is likely to make landfall in northwestern India on Wednesday, November 6. Courtesey: NCM.
Tropical cyclone Maha is likely to make landfall in northwestern India on Wednesday, November 6. Courtesey: NCM.

The east coast of the UAE is set to escape the brunt of a raging cyclone racing across the Arabian Sea at wind speeds of up to 170 kilometres an hour, meteorologists said.

Weather experts in the Emirates are closely monitoring the potentially destructive path of Cyclone Maha, which is expected to be upgraded to a category three storm within hours.

A warning was issued on Monday by the UAE Crisis Authority about the risk of flooding and high winds as the storm strengthens in the Arabian Sea.

“We have been tracking the cyclone as we expect it to develop into a category three in the coming hours,” said Majed Nasser, head of the marine division at the National Centre of Meteorology.

“Landfall is likely to be in the north-west of India and is expected by November 6 to 7.

“There is some fluctuation and uncertainty, but for now there is no direct impact from this cyclone on the UAE.

“It will likely be just a water surge on the east coast, which is common during a tropical storm or cyclone in the Arabian Sea.”

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said low-lying areas of the east coast of the UAE were most at risk from a storm surge.

Waves are likely to increase in height and a high tide will also add to the potential dangers.

The public have been advised to stay clear of the shoreline for the duration of the stormy period, likely to be from Monday afternoon and into Wednesday.

Populated areas along the east coast in Khor Fakkan, Dibba and Fujairah are most likely to be affected by the cyclone.

Storm surges are usually worse when there is a high tide and a full moon.

Although the moon is currently in its first quarter, Maha is the second cyclone to threaten the UAE in a week.

Low-lying areas of Sharjah and Fujairah experienced flooding on October 29 because of heavy rain swept in by Cyclone Kyarr.

Some roads were flooded, causing disruption for drivers in what was the strongest cyclone over the UAE in a decade as winds hit 240kph.

Maha will bring a large sea swell with bigger waves than average. The rest of the UAE is unlikely to feel any effect.

Gujarat in north-west India is likely to take the full brunt of heavy rains.

“Landfall for this cyclone will not be in the UAE or anywhere on the Arabian Peninsular,” said Mr Nasser.

“If people are on the east coast, they should take extra care and precautions during this time.

“We are expecting it to have moved on by Wednesday.”

Updated: November 4, 2019 01:18 PM

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