Tropical Cyclone Phet intensifies, coastal Oman bracing for strong winds, heavy rains
Tropical storm Phet intensified over the last 24 hours and has grown into a full-blown and powerful cyclone. NASA's Terra satellite imagery of the storm from earlier today also revealed an eye in the storm, confirming the intensification. Residents of coastal Oman are bracing for strong winds, heavy rainfall and rough surf today and tomorrow.
NASA's Terra satellite flew over Tropical Cyclone Phet at 06:55 UTC (2:55 a.m. EDT or 6:55 p.m. local time/Pakistan). The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument, or MODIS captured a visible image of Phet at that time, and noticed an eye in the center of the storm's circulation. Satellite imagery indicates the eye is about 12 kilometers (7 miles) in diameter.
At 0900 UTC (9 p.m. local time/Pakistan), Tropical Cyclone Phet had maximum sustained winds near 110 knots (126 mph) with gusts to 135 knots (155 mph). It is now considered a major cyclone (equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale). It is about 560 miles southwest of Karachi, Pakistan, near 17.7 North and 60.6 East. It is moving to the northwest near 5 knots (6 mph). Cyclone-force winds extend to 35 miles from the storm's center, while tropical-storm force winds extend as far as 75 miles from the center. It is creating very rough seas on the Arabian Sea with waves as high as 18 feet.
Cyclone Phet is a threat to coastal Oman, India (Gujarat), and Pakistan (Sindh and Balochistan). The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) has forecast the storm to continue intensifying and to approach Oman on its way to a weekend landfall in southeastern Pakistan between Karachi and to the border with India.
RSMC New Delhi warns that gale force winds will be experienced along the Oman coast today and tomorrow as Phet continues to move through the Arabian Sea.