Tropical Cyclone Mekunu Passes By Socotra Island

Tropical Cyclone Mekunu passed by Socotra Island on Wednesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu was located at latitude 13.3°N and longitude 55.5°E which put it about 285 miles (460 km) south-southeast of Salalah, Oman.  Mekunu was moving toward the north-northwest at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 115 m.p.h. (185 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 970 mb.

The inner core of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu passed east of Socotra Island on Wednesday.  However, several strong rainbands in the western half of the tropical cyclone did pass over the island.  Those bands dropped locally heavy rain and they may have produced winds to tropical storm force,  Rain was still falling over parts of the island and the potential for flooding continued.

Tropical Cyclone Mekunu intensified quickly into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon on Wednesday.  An eye formed at the center of circulation.  A nearly complete ring of thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  The northeastern part of the ring was the weakest section of the eyewall.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu.  The strongest rainbands were south and west of the center of circulation,  Bands northeast of the center consisted primarily of low clouds and showers.  Thunderstorms near the core of Mekunu were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.

Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 230 miles (370 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Mekunu was 13.9.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 21.9.  The Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 35.8.

Tropical Cyclone Mekunu will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Mekunu will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move near the western end of an upper level ridge.  The ridge will produce weak southerly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent further intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Makunu could strengthen into the equivalent of a major hurricane.

The upper level ridge steered Tropical Cyclone Mekunu toward the north-northwest on Wednesday and that general motion is expected to continue for several more days.   On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Mekunu could approach the coast of western Oman and eastern Yemen within 48 hours.  Mekunu will bring strong winds and locally heavy rain when it reaches the coast.