Cyclone Chapala approaches Yemen

November 2nd, 2015 |
METOP-B Imagery (0.63 µm Visible and 10.8 µm Infrared) over Chapala, ~0615 UTC on 2 November 2015

METOP-B Imagery (0.63 µm Visible and 10.8 µm Infrared) over Chapala, ~0615 UTC on 2 November 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Cyclone Chapala continued its unusual approach towards Yemen on the southwestern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. Early on 2 November, the storm has passed just north of the Island of Socotra and entered the Gulf of Aden. METOP-B overflew the storm at ~0615 UTC on 2 November; Visible and Infrared data, above, show a still-compact storm with an obvious eye ringed by cold cloud tops (the coldest brightness temperatures are near -75º C) tucked into the mouth of the Gulf of Aden. Wind shear in the region is very low and sea-surface temperatures are warm. The morphed microwave imagery, below (taken from this site), indicates that the eyewall brushed the island of Socotra as it passed (a comparison of Meteosat-7 Infrared and DMSP SSMIS microwave images around 15 UTC on 01 November can be seen here).

Morphed Microwave Imagery ending 1645 UTC 01 November 2015

Morphed Microwave Imagery ending 1645 UTC 01 November 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Subsequent microwave imagery, below, for the 24 hours ending 1200 UTC on 2 November (the image below overlaps the one above) show a decrease in the eyewall structure and intensity.

Morphed Microwave Imagery ending 1200 UTC 02 November 2015

Morphed Microwave Imagery ending 1200 UTC 02 November 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Satellite-based intensity estimates at around 0000 UTC on 2 November (link) suggest a central mean sea-level pressure around 940 mb with sustained winds near 120 knots. The 0000 UTC Meteosat-7 image is shown below.

Meteosat-7 Window Channel Infrared (11.5 µm) 0000 UTC, 2 November 2015

Meteosat-7 Window Channel Infrared (11.5 µm) 0000 UTC, 2 November 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP overflew the region shortly after 2100 UTC on 1 November, and the Day/Night Band imagery from VIIRS is shown below, toggled with the 11.45 µm Infrared imagery. The storm is centered just northwest of Socotra; mesovortices are evident within the eye, as are overshooting tops in the eyewall convection; the bright streak seen on the Day/Night Band image is a region of the western eyewall illuminated by intense lightning activity. Zoomed-out versions of the imagery are available here for Day/Night Band and here for 11.45 µm Infrared. (VIIRS Imagery courtesy William Straka, SSEC/CIMSS).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band Visible Image and 11.45 µm Infrared Image 2149 UTC, 2 November 2015

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band Visible Image and 11.45 µm Infrared Image 2149 UTC, 2 November 2015 (Click to enlarge)

A comparison of Meteosat-7 Infrared and DMSP SSMIS Microwave images around 1530 UTC on 2 November, below, showed the northern edge of the eyewall very near to the coast of Yemen.

Meteosat-7 Infrared and DMSP SSMIS Microwave images {click to enlarge)

Meteosat-7 Infrared and DMSP SSMIS Microwave images (click to enlarge)

At landfall, below, as viewed by Suomi NPP’s VIIRS instrument and a timely overpass, the eye of the storm had filled. The change in storm structure prior to landfall was very apparent in this toggle of two METOP Infrared images, at 0558 and 1644 UTC on 2 November. However, Meteosat-7 Infrared images showed that there was a large convective burst that developed as Chapala made landfall. Chapala was the first tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in Yemen while still at hurricane intensity.

Suomi NPP VIIRS I05 (11.45 µm) Infrared Image, 2127 UTC on 2 November [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS I05 (11.45) Infrared Image, 2127 UTC on 2 November (click to enlarge)

A 6-day animation of the storm using VIIRS true-color imagery from RealEarth can be seen here. Cyclone Chapala is also discussed in this blog post.

===== 05 November Update =====

A 14-day animation of UK Met Office OSTIA Sea Surface Temperature, below, reveals the cold wake of upwelling water (yellow color enhancement) following the passage of Hurricane Chapala.

UK Met Office OSTIA Sea Surface Temperature analyses [click to enlarge]

UK Met Office OSTIA Sea Surface Temperature analyses [click to enlarge]

One Response to “Cyclone Chapala approaches Yemen”

  1. Greg says:

    Thank you for this very thorough write-up on cyclone Chapala. You guys to an amazing job! Remarkable to see such an intense tropical cyclone in that part of the world.

    (hope this isn’t double-posted, had a problem with the captcha)

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