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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cyclone forecast in Oman May 2008

By Sunil K. Vaidya, Bureau Chief Last updated: May 20, 2008, 18:01

Muscat: Less than a year after Cyclone Gonu devastated the coast of Oman, a UK-based international weather bureau has predicted that another tropical storm could hit Oman and Yemen at the end of May. This time the forecast of landfall of the cyclone is on May 29 around Oman/Yemen coast. A senior official at the Directorate General of Meteorology and Air Navigation (DGMAN) confirmed that they have initial reports about the possibility of a storm. “We are in preparedness,” Badr Al Rumhi of DGMAN told Gulf News on Tuesday. He, however, did not elaborate.
According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the onset phase of this year’s monsoon could feature a cyclone in the west Arabian Sea.

However, when contacted in London, Manfred Kloeppel, Assistant to Director, ECMWF, said: “We do not issue any warnings ourselves to any states in the world but make our products available in particular to our Member and Co-operating States.” Kloeppel further added that the forecast last Monday (May 19) showed a system developing and hitting Oman on 28 May. “This not so prominent in Tuesday’s forecast,” he added. He also clarified that ECMWF do not forecast a cyclone to hit the Gulf states, although "there clearly is still some potential for this to happen."He added that the message from the forecast was that such a development might happen, but one must wait and see what happens in the next forecasts, a task, he stressed, was with the National Meteorological Services.
The forecast states that “the system is forecast to develop in the west central Arabian Sea and is expected to make a landfall over the Yemen/Oman coast around May 29.” It further states that the timing of the ‘cyclogenesis’ (birth of a cyclone) and the path for onward movement would resemble those of tropical Cyclone Gonu, which killed 48 people when it struck Oman on June 6 last year. The only redeeming feature, according to ECMWF, would be that this time the storm would be comparatively at a reduced strength. However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) says that unlike tropical cyclone Gonu, the intensity of this impending storm would be low.
The ECMWF forecasts say that the rogue circulation spin up in the west-central Arabian Sea about the same time as the westerly winds are predicted to accelerate in the run-up to monsoon. The circulation is shown to move in a west-northwest direction, away from the Indian coast, during the two days from May 27 for which forecasts are available. “This is more or less the track pursued by tropical cyclone Gonu last year,” says ECMWF.
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