Tropical Cyclone Sagar Strengthens Over Gulf of Aden

Tropical Cyclone Sagar (01A) strengthened over the Gulf of Aden on Thursday.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Sagar was located at latitude 12.8°N and longitude 47.8°E which put it about 210 miles (335 km) east of Aden, Yemen.  Sagar was moving toward the west-southwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 992 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Sagar became more organized on Thursday.  An eyelike feature appeared at the center of circulation.  A partial ring of thunderstorms wrapped around the northeast, northwest and southwest quadrants of the incipient eye.  There was a break in the ring of storms southeast of the center.  The strongest winds were occurring in the partial ring.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms were occurring north and west of the center of circulation.  Bands south and east of the center consisted primarily of low clouds and showers.  Storms near the center of circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 70 miles (110 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Sagar will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Sagar will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C to 30°C.  So, there is plenty of energy in the upper ocean to support intensification.  Sagar is moving south of an upper level ridge.  The ridge is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds are causing some vertical wind shear and they are part of the reason why the strong storm are occurring mainly in the western half of the circulation.  The wind shear is not strong enough to prevent intensification and Tropical Cyclone Sagar is likely to continue to strengthen during the next 24 hours.  It could strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.  Much drier air is over the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia.  When Sagar approaches the coast of the Gulf of Aden, it will start to pull drier air into the circulation and that will cause Sagar to weaken.

The upper level ridge is steering Tropical Cyclone Sagar toward the west-southwest and that general motion is expected to continue during the next several days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Sagar could be south of Aden in about 36 hours.  Sagar could approach the coast of western Somalia and Djibouti in two or three days.  Tropical Cyclone Sagar will bring gusty winds and it could cause some storm surge at the coast.  The greater risk is for locally heavy rain near the coast of Yemen and over north Somalia.  The rain could be heavy enough to produce flash floods in some locations.