Ravaged by months of war, Yemen is now being battered by the first tropical storm on record to make landfall in the impoverished Arab country.
Tropical Cyclone Chapala slammed into Yemen’s central coast early Tuesday, lashing the area with maximum sustained winds of around 140 kph (85 mph).
But the major concern is the extraordinary volume of rain the storm is expected to dump on the country’s dry, rugged terrain, bringing a severe threat of mudslides.
Yemen typically gets around 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain per year. Chapala is forecast to unleash two to three times that amount in the space of just one day.
The deluge is likely to cause “massive debris flows and flash flooding,” CNN meteorologist Tom Sater warned.
â€” Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) October 31, 2015
The storm made landfall not far from Al Mukalla, a port that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seized earlier this year amid the chaotic conflict engulfing Yemen.
The country isn’t used to finding itself in the path of tropical cyclones.
Reliable records, which only go back about 30 years, show no landfalls by hurricane-strength tropical cyclones in Yemen. Chapala, which was the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane early Tuesday, had at one point been the second strongest storm ever recorded in the Arabian Sea
Most of the storms that brew in the Indian Ocean end up in the Bay of Bengal, on the eastern side of the Indian subcontinent. Those that do make their way across the Arabian Sea are more likely to hit Oman, which lies to the north and east of Yemen.
Chapala already brushed past Socotra, a Yemeni island in the Arabian Sea where 60,000 to 65,000 people live.
Abdul-Jamil Mohammed, deputy director of the Environmental Protection Authority on the island, reported strong winds, heavy rain and big waves overnight into Monday.
Mohammed said the storm damaged some homes and uprooted trees in Hadibo, the capital of Socotra. Contact has been lost with the northeastern part of the island since Sunday night, and floods have covered the roads leading there, he said.
“Our problem is we have no one to help us here,” he said, explaining the island has one hospital and four ambulances.
Yemen is already dealing with one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, according to the United Nations.
The country has been plunged into chaos this year by a conflict between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to deposed President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi. A Saudi-led coalition in March began bombing the Houthis, who are aligned with Iran.
Terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS have capitalized on the unrest to expand their reach and try to foment sectarian tensions.
The widespread fighting has killed thousands of people, many of them civilians, and left millions more desperately short of food, water and medical supplies, the United Nations says.
on 4/11/2015 4:49am
This writer’s prediction about danger from strong storms or sea tsunamis in vulnerable areas near some islands to come in October – November 2015 was published in article – Total lunar eclipse of 28 September 2015 and world – in the Summer 2015 ( June) issue of The Astrologer’s Notebook , a quarterly publication from North Port , Florida. Just reproducing the related parts from the article : -“During second half of 2015 , among other things , dangers from sea or in sea like strong storms or sea tsunamis could be likely in vulnerable regions. Power dams and electricity could bring to surface substantial concern. Natural calamities such as floods , landslides and earthquake could sadden.” The prediction further goes in the same article : “ Some islands located near the sea may need to take some precaution .Though second half of 2015 seems to be causing concern , months October and November of 2015 are likely to trigger many unwelcome things out of above mentioned aspects or areas of life”.
These predictions published in the month of June 2015 to happen in November 2015 have come precisely accurate in the case of cyclone lashed in Yemen and categorized as rare. These unique contributions aimed to help the affected deserve to be noted .