Yemen suffered through another cyclone this week. The island of Socotra was hit directly on November 8, 2015 and Cyclone Megh reached Yemen mainland shores on the 10th. This is now back to back cyclonic activity in this area of the Arabian Sea. Megh was a strong Category 2 or Category 3 storm. Cyclone Chapala pass over Yemen just a week ago. This tweet from @StuOstro compares the two storms.
After flooding southern Portugal, the storm continued marking its territory into Spain this Monday and Tuesday. Waves over 6 meters continued to wash over the coastal areas. Salvador García, from Las Acacias restaurant in Malaga is quoted as saying in “the 33 years I’ve been working here I’ve never seen anything like it” (tinyurl.com/o4k3wy5). Water runs through establishments while people sit eating. Northwest of Barcelona, four retires drowned when floodwaters overwhelmed riverbanks and swept through a retirement home.
Flooding in the Algarve region of Portugal has claimed the life of an 80 year old man. He was found dead in his submerged car on Monday. The waters have destroyed roads and swamped houses in this picturesque area of southern Portugal. The popular tourist location was inundated with water levels up to the ceilings in bars, restaurants, and dwellings. The cleanup begins as the rains head toward Spain.
Tropical cyclone Chapala is on track to hit Yemen within ~24 hours. The eye of the storm passed over the island of Socotra which was brutalized by the winds and rain. Flooding is imminent in the Yemeni city of Al Mukalla, which butts up against rising terrain. The storm rose to a Category 4 system on Friday making in the strongest storm to hit the southern Arabian Sea. By Monday, it had slowed to a Category 3.
Mukalla has a population of about 300,000 people. Both the Yemeni and Omani governments have issued warning to evacuate low-lying areas. Keep in mind that Yemen is currently a war zone with over 1 million people displaced.
Astronaut Scott Kelly took this picture of the storm.
Patricia is now being called “the most dangerous storm in history” by the Mexican CONAGUA director, Robert Ramirez de la Parra. The coastal city of Manzanillo is bracing for landfall. This nighttime image from EUMETSAT shows the magnitude of this catastrophic storm.
Eumetsat composite image of the Category 5 Hurricane Paticia. Copyright: 2015 EUMETSAT.
Hurricane Joaquin, which past over several island chains off the coast and buffeted the eastern US as far inland as Tennessee, brings to mind another watery weather event associated with the name Joaquin – this time on the opposite side of the continent.
“While the rest of the country was engaged in an epic cataclysm of Civil War, California suffered through an unprecedented natural calamity, which was the most devastating recorded flood in California’s history – the Flood of 1861-1862” (tinyurl.com/ppv472b).
The Great Flood of 1861-1862 actually extended from the Columbia River in Oregon into southern California. San Joaquin county sits just south of Sacramento, the capital of California, which had to relocate to San Francisco for a period of months afterwards. By all accounts, the Central Valley region was “inundated.” The records of the previous flood of 1853 were broken when the Sacramento River crested above the 22’6″ mark on December 27, 1861. This catastrophic flood, unlike the catastrophes from Hurricane Joaquin, were the result of several sequential weather events over the course of many months at the end of 1861 and the beginning of 1862. A combination of continuous rain over large swaths of the Northwest and significant melting snow pack from the mountains contributed to the massive amount of water that poured through the region sweeping away house, cattle, machinery, and men.
Hurricane Joaquin battered the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the east coast of the United States last last week and over the weekend. Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, has said that “we are at a thousand year level. … We haven’t seen this level of rain in the low countries in a thousand years.” The damage in the Bahamas is extensive and recovery as with all such events will take time. It reached Category 4 status
One tragedy from Hurricane Joaquin is the presumed loss of the cargo ship El Faro and all souls on board. The search for answers is ongoing as Joaquin heads for the British Isles.
NOAA track of Hurricane Joaquin Thursday, October 6, 2015.