Cyclone Chapala, currently over the Arabian Sea is expected to strengthen to the strongest category of Super Cyclonic Storm this weekend which means that sustained winds will be in excess of 140 mph, with gusts likely to be in excess of 170 mph. This is equivalent to a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Chapala is rated as an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm by the Indian Meteorological Department who are the official tropical cyclone forecasting centre for the Arabian Sea.
This Super Cyclone is expected to slowly track west or northwest this weekend, just west of the Gulf of Aden, producing Hurricane Force winds and waves of up to 15 metres. These conditions are likely to impact on the very busy shipping route from the Indian Ocean through the Gulf of Aden, making it very difficult for marine transport to move through this area for several days.
Chapala is expected to make landfall in southeast Yemen, or perhaps the far southwest of Oman, later on Monday or through Tuesday. However, there remains some uncertainty over the time and exact location of landfall. This Cyclone is likely to have weakened a little by then due to the interaction with land, but could still be an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm with sustained winds of 115 mph and gusts to 150 mph. These winds could cause destruction along the coastline if they occur across a town or city, but this is a sparsely populated coastline.
Rainfall is also likely to prove hazardous, with this system possibly producing up to 500mm of rainfall in a 48 hour period. This is likely to cause severe flooding if it falls over a town or city. This part of Yemen usually sees less than 100mm of rain during the whole year.
Official warnings for the latest tropical cyclones in the north Indian Ocean are produced by the Indian Meteorological Department. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.