The third tropical cyclone of the season in the northern Indian Ocean brought rare rains to the desert regions of Yemen and Oman in the third week of October 2008 after the storm hooked around the Horn of Africa and entered the Gulf of Aden. This image of the storm was captured on October 23, 2008, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.
Tropical Storm Three formed in the Indian Ocean southeast of the island of Socotra and headed northwest over the island. It skirted the Horn of Africa and headed west. The storm only briefly reached “Tropical Storm” status before it weakened to a tropical depression. By the time of this image, the storm did not have the iconic pinwheel shape and distinct eye of a powerful storm, but hints of its cyclonic nature were visible. Airflow spiraled inward in a counterclockwise direction toward a storm center located near the eastern shoreline of Yemen. Two patches of intensely bright clouds around this center of rotation signal areas of severe thunderstorms.
According to a blog posting by international meteorologist Jim Andrews with Accuweather.com, the storm was bringing scattered downpours over areas that are accustomed to going a year or more without significant rainfall. Local flash flooding was likely along the coast of Yemen, Oman, and northeastern Somalia.
- Unisys. (2008, October 23). 2008 Hurricane/Tropical Data for Northern Indian Ocean. Unisys.com. Accessed October 23, 2008.
- Andrews, J. (2008, October 22). Tropical Depression Triggers Rare Desert Rain. Accuweather.com. Accessed October 23, 2008.
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.
- Terra - MODIS