SHAFAQNA – A tropical cyclone has developed in the Arabian Sea and is strengthening as it moves northwards to threaten land. Currently the storm is expected to become the equivalent of a category one hurricane on the five point Saffir-Simpson Scale.
This is the weakest category that there is, but would still have the potential to cause significant damage.
After creeping close to the Oman coast, the storm is then forecast to be swept northeastward and weaken as it heads towards Pakistan.
The coast of Pakistan could see the remnants of the cyclone on Friday. By this time the winds are not expected to cause too many problems, but the rain is likely to trigger widespread flooding.
Tropical cyclones which hit the coastline of the Arabian Sea are often deadly, partly because they are not as common as they are in other parts of the globe, such as Japan or the Caribbean.
They generally develop with the onset of the Indian summer monsoon between May and June, or its withdrawal between October and November.
In June 2007, Cyclone Gonu swept up the Gulf of Oman, clipping the east coast of Oman before disintegrating over Iran. Gonu was the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea. It weakened significantly before making landfall, but it still claimed over 100 lives in the region.
Cyclone Phet was the next storm, which almost exactly struck three years later. Oman was battered first, before the storm veered east and slammed into Pakistan. Like Cyclone Gonu, Phet weakened significantly before making landfall, but over 40 people were still killed.
As the current cyclone continues to strengthen, people in Oman and Pakistan are advised to keep a very close eye on the forecast.