Tropical Cyclone Mekunu Intensifies Over the Arabian Sea

Tropical Cyclone Mekunu intensified over the Arabian Sea on Tuesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu was located at latitude 11.0°N and longitude 55.9°E which put it about 120 miles (195 km) southeast of Socotra Island.  Mekunu was moving toward the northwest 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 985 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu became much better organized on Tuesday.  A primary rainband wrapped around the center of circulation and eye was evident at the center of circulation on microwave satellite images.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms developed and began to revolve around the core of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu.  The strongest rainbands were in the western and northern parts of the circulation.  Storms near the core generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 95 miles (155 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Mekunu will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Mekunu will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It is moving around the western end of an upper level ridge.  The ridge is producing southerly winds which were blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will generate some vertical shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Mekunu is likely to intensify into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon during the next 24 hours.

The upper level ridge was steering Tropical Cyclone Mekunu toward the northwest.  A general motion toward the north-northwest is forecast for the next two to three days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Mekunu will approach Socotra Island within 24 hours.  The strongest part of Mekunu will pass over Socotra Island.  It will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain.  Flash floods could occur.  Tropical Cyclone Mekunu could approach the coast of western Oman and eastern Yemen in about three days.