Tropical Cyclone Gati Intensifies Explosively near Somalia

Tropical Cyclone Gati intensified explosively near the northeast coast of Somalia during Saturday night. At 4:00 a.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gati (03A) was located at latitude 10.3°N and longitude 52.0°E which put it about 70 miles (110 km) east of Hafun, Somalia. It was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 115 m.p.h. (185 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 145 m.p.h. (235 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 954 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Gati strengthened extremely rapidly on Saturday night. A circular eye with a diameter of 17 miles (28 km) developed at the center of Gati. The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Storms around the core of Gati generated very strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical cyclone. The removal of large amounts of mass allowed the surface pressure to decrease very rapidly, which contributed to the explosive intensification.

The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Gati was very small. Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 20 miles (30 km) from the center of Gati. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 60 miles (95 km) from the center. The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Gati was 20.6. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 5.5 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 26.1. The structure of Gati was similar to that of midget typhoons sometimes observed over the Western North Pacific Ocean.

Tropical Cyclone Gati could strengthen further during the next few hours before it makes landfall on the northeast coast of Somalia. Gati will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C. It will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Tropical Cyclone Gati will weaken quickly after it makes landfall in Somalia.

Tropical Cyclone Gati will move south of a high pressure system over th Arabian Peninsula. The high will steer Gati toward the west during the next 36 to 48 hours. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Gati wil make landfall near Hafun, Somalia in about six hours. Gati will be capable of causing major damage around Hafun. It will drop heavy rain over parts of northeastern Somalia and flash floods could occur.