Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

Tropical Storm Maha intensifies in Arabian Sea

The storm is expected to reach Category 3 cyclone status

Flooding along Hamad bin Abdullah Street in Fujairah city. Ruba Haza / The National
Flooding along Hamad bin Abdullah Street in Fujairah city. Ruba Haza / The National

UAE meteorologists are monitoring a growing tropical storm in the northwest Arabian Sea that is threatening to reach cyclone status.

Tropical storm Maha is on the cusp of becoming a category 1 cyclone, with winds of 110kph. A storm must have sustained winds of 119kph to be declared a cyclone.

The storm is spinning northwest in the west central north Arabian Sea in the wake of Cyclone Kyarr.

Maha has picked up strength since its formation in the northwest of the Arabian Sea on Wednesday and is expected to become a category 3 Cyclone by Monday before curving back to India. Heavy rainfall is predicted in Gujarat.

The east coast of the UAE and Oman were hit by storm surges from Cyclone Kyarr last week. It was the Arabian Sea’s strongest cyclone in a decade with winds of 241 kph, just under category 5 status.

A hotel staff member in Fujairah drowned on duty when he was swept out to sea.

Schools on the east coast closed following storm surges. Streets and houses were flooded with knee-deep and residents were forced to leave homes due to power cuts.

Beach hotels estimated the storm had caused damage worth hundreds of thousands of dirhams as waves battered seaside restaurants and recreational areas.

This damage was the periphery of the Cyclone Kyarr, whose centre remained hundreds of kilometres off shore.

Heavy flooding extended from the Omani exclave of Dibba to the Socotra archipelago in Yemen.

Climate change is increasing the frequency of autumn cyclones in the Arabian Sea.

Maha would be the third in the North Indian Ocean in 2019, the most active cyclone season in the region on record.

Updated: November 2, 2019 03:08 PM

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