Tropical Cyclone Mekunu Nears Western Oman

Tropical Cyclone Mekunu neared western Oman late on Thursday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu was located at latitude 15.5°N and longitude 54.2°E which put it about 125 miles (200 km) south of Salalah, Oman.  Mekunu was moving toward the west-northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 964 mb.

There was a small eye at the center of circulation of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu.  The eye was surrounded by a tight ring of thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the tropical cyclone.  Storms near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone in all directions.  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 200 miles (320 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Mekunu was 16.5.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 21.6 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 38.1.  These indices indicate that Tropical Cyclone Mekunu is capable of producing widespread serious damage.

Tropical Cyclone Mekunu will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 12 hours while it approaches the coast.  Mekunu will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It is moving under the western end of an upper level ridge.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Mekunu could strengthen a little more before it approaches the coast.  When Tropical Cyclone Mekunu approaches the Arabian Peninsula, it will begin to pull drier air into the western side of the circulation.  Mekunu will start to weaken when the drier air reaches the core of the circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Mekunu is moving around the western end of the upper level ridge.  The ridge will steer Mekunu toward the northwest during the next 24 hours.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Mekunu will make landfall near the border between Oman and Yemen in 12 to 18 hours.  Mekunu will produce winds to hurricane/typhoon force near where the center makes landfall.  Winds to tropical storm force will occur east and west of the core.  It will drop locally heavy rain and flash flooding will be likely.  There could also be a storm surge of 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) near where the center makes landfall.