Cyclones Firing Up Again In Gulf Of Oman

Remnants Of Tropical Cyclone Keila Brings Heavy Rains And Gusty Winds

While the Hurricane Season is winding down in the Atlantic Basin, things are getting interesting in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Gulf of Oman region.  Over the past few days, Tropical Storm Keila has dissipated into a remnant low, but it has been producing torrential rains and gusty winds along the Oman and Yemen border.

Of all the basins on the planet, the Indian Ocean produces the fewest storms in comparison to the Western Pacific, Eastern Pacific, and Atlantic.  However, because of the low lying terrain that lies along the Indian Ocean including the shallow depth of water along coastlines.  Places such as Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh are known for their devastating and deadly cyclones that have left tens and even hundreds of thousands dead.  Such storms have been the reasons for wars in that part of the world.

The most deadly of these cyclones was the one that struck Bangladesh back in November 1970.  Then called East Pakistan, the country was struck by a powerful cyclone that left between 300,000 and 500,000 dead.  The geopolitical ramifications from this storm were tremendous.  Due to the lack of response by the central government of Pakistan, which was based in the western part of the country, East Pakistan declared its independence, and war erupted.  Neighboring India became involved, and the result of the conflict was the rise to power of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Recently, there have been some notable cyclones.  One was in early June, 2007 when Cyclone Gonu threatened Oman.  At one point, the storm was as powerful as a Category Five Hurricane with 160 mile per hour winds.  It was rare to see such a powerful storm in that part of the world at that time of year because weather conditions in that part of the world are usually not favorable to such strong storms.   In addition, Oman and Yemen are on the Arabian Peninsula, which is desert.  Remember, tropical storms don’t like dry air.  Another notable cyclone in the past few years was the one that struck the Myammar Republic in May 2008.

The cyclone struck as the equivalent of a Category Three Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with 120 mile per hour winds.  The storm may have left 100,000 dead, but the actual death toll is not know due to the very isolated military government in Myammar, which not only refused to help its own people, but also kept the media from coming in to cover the disaster.   Returning to Keila, the storm has not had a very long life.  It formed as a tropical depression on October 29th, and has basically hugged the coast of Oman over the past couple of days.

Keila has strengthened to become the equivalent of a minimal tropical storm before moving into the interior of Oman.  According to the article on the web site, Earthweek:  Diary of a Planet, the storm has left 6 dead from flash flooding.  Tropical Cyclones are quite rare in the Arabian Sea region.  Storms only form during two brief periods each year.  However, there has been a growing concern that pollution created by the industries in the growing economic power of India is creating more favorable climatic conditions in the Arabian Sea for powerful storms like the one in June 2007.

Looking at the latest satellite imagery out of that part of the world, there appears to be another tropical disturbance in the making to the east of Keila in the heart of the Indian Ocean.