A storm in the Arabian Sea is headed toward the deserts of Yemen and Oman on the Arabian Peninsula, bringing historic levels of rain to the region.
Here’s what the storm looked like on October 29 as the storm started picking up steam. Chapala is expected to reach Category 5 storm level before it makes landfall. Some estimates expect at least a year’s worth of rain (on average the area gets about four inches) as a result of this single storm.
Chapala is expected to make landfall in Yemen and southwest Oman on Monday. Typically, cyclones die down before making landfall, and in this case experts estimate Chapala will dissippate as it approaches the arid desert.
This storm is being called a cyclone rather than a hurricane or typhoon because of its location. Storms of this kind that happen in the Indian Ocean (where the Arabian Sea is) are called cyclones; they’re called hurricanes in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific and typhoons in the Northwest Pacific.
Chapala is one of the strongest storms ever to form in the Arabian Sea, after Cyclone Gonu, which reached winds of 165 mph.
Here’s the storm’s trajectory, as of October 30, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center:
In order for a hurricane, cyclone, or typhoon to form, there must be some type of pre-existing weather disturbance, the presence of warm tropical oceans, plus moisture and some light wind. If these conditions stick around for long enough, they can combine to produce these storms.