MUSCAT, Oman. — A rare tropical cyclone barreling across the Arabian Sea has reached the intensity of a Category 4 hurricane, becoming the strongest storm recorded in the area for 12 years.
Currently a couple of hundred miles off the coast of Oman, Tropical Cyclone Kyarr reached peak strength in the past two days, with winds of around 250kph (155mph).
There are only around 1-2 tropical cyclones per year in the Arabian Sea, but storms this strength are very rare. Kyarr has reached wind speeds equivalent to a super typhoon in the Pacific Ocean.
Previously categorized as a Super Cyclonic Storm, Kyarr has weakened to become an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm, according to a statement from the Indian Meteorological Department.
Kyarr has been moving generally from east to west and is now expected to turn towards the south.
It is not expected to move directly over Oman and will steadily weaken over the next couple of days.
Tropical Cyclone Kyarr is the strongest storm in the Arabian Sea since Tropical Cyclone Gonu in 2007. Kyarr’s peak sustained winds hit 250 kph, whereas Gonu’s peak winds reached around 270kph.
Kyarr is the 4th hurricane — or typhoon — strength storm in the Indian Ocean basin so far in 2019, the most ever recorded by this point in the year.
The Indian Ocean storms have also accumulated more energy than any other year on record — dating back to 1972 — according to Phil Klotzbach, a tropical meteorologist at Colorado State University.
In June 2019, Tropical Cyclone Vayu hit wind speeds of around 170 kph (100 mph).
India evacuated almost 300,000 people and closed schools and colleges in preparation for the storm.
Vayu was the most powerful storm to impact the Saurashtra Peninsula in north-west India since 1998, when a tropical cyclone with winds of 195 kph (120 mph) killed around 10,000 people.