Tropical Cyclone Sagar Strengthens Over Western Gulf of Aden

Tropical Cyclone Sagar strengthened over the western Gulf of Aden on Friday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Cyclone Sagar was located at latitude 11.2°N and longitude 45.0°E which put it about 105 miles (170 km) south of Aden, Yemen.  Sagar was moving toward the west-southwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 986 mb.

A small eye appeared at the center of Tropical Cyclone Sagar on microwave satellite imagery.  The eye was surrounded by a tight ring of thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in the ring of storms.  There was a small break on the southeast side of the ring of storms.  A short, broad band of showers and thunderstorms wrapped around the western and northern sides of the core of the circulation.  A longer, thinner rainband wrapped around the southern and eastern periphery of the circulation.  Storms near the core of Tropical Cyclone Sagar were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Sagar will be moving through an environment favorable for intensification for about another 12 to 18 hours.  Sagar will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C to 30°C.  It is moving south of an upper level ridge.  The ridge is generating easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds are producing some vertical wind shear.  The shear may be the reason why most of the stronger thunderstorms are in the western half of the circulation.  The shear will inhibit intensification, but it will not be strong enough to prevent further strengthening.  Tropical Cyclone Sagar could become the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.  Much drier air is over eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.  When Tropical Cyclone Sagar nears the coast of western Somalia, it will pull some of the drier air into the circulation and that will cause Sagar to start to weaken.

The upper level ridge is steering Tropical Cyclone Sagar toward the west-southwest and that general motion is expected to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Sagar could make landfall on the coast of western Somalia in 18 to 24 hours.  Sagar will be capable of causing minor wind damage.  It could produce a storm surge of 4 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.5 meters) near where the center makes landfall.  The core of Tropical Cyclone Sagar could also drop locally heavy rain over parts of western Somalia and eastern Ethiopia.  Heavy rain could cause flash floods in some locations.