Sagar was strongest cyclone to hit Somalia and westernmost in Indian Ocean

Written by on May 28, 2018 in Africa, Tropical with 0 Comments

Recent Severe Cyclone Sagar set a few records last week by becoming the westernmost ever cyclone within the Indian Ocean basin. The cyclone was also the strongest to ever hit Somalia after traversing the entire east-west length of the hot Gulf of Aden.

Despite being locked in on three sides by desert, the Gulf of Aden is a very warm body of water. So despite very dry surroundings, Cyclone Sagar strengthened as it tracked west over 30-32C (86-90F) waters in a low shear environment scraping Yemen to the north before slamming into Somalia and Djibouti with significant impacts extending in Eritrea and Ethiopia. With 3 years of drought, lack of vegetation and rock hard ground, the heavy rains had nowhere to go but run off, creating destructive flash flooding.

Djibouti City flooding.

Credit: Araleh DI @AralehDI

Credit: Araleh DI @AralehDI

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