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Tropical Cyclone Gonu

Tropical Cyclone Gonu

A cyclonic storm like Tropical Cyclone Gonu might not seem an odd sight until you consider that Gonu is heading northwest into the Gulf of Oman. The most recent storm of this magnitude to hit the Sultanate of Oman was in 1977, according to (English language). Given the rarity of these storms in the area, many shore facilities were never constructed to deal with the severe winds, strong rains, and high storm surge.

At 10:15 a.m. local time (07:15 UTC) on June 6, 2007, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image, Tropical Cyclone Gonu was grazing the gulf shore of Oman. At this time, the powerful storm had lost considerable power and was considered a Category 1 cyclone. Sustained winds were measured at 140 kilometers per hour (85 miles per hour) according to the University of Hawaii’s Tropical Storm Information Center.

The satellite image shows Gonu bringing rain to both Oman and Iran even as the storm center remains offshore in the Gulf of Oman. Hemmed in by hot desert lands and mountains on both sides of the Gulf, Gonu was predicted to continue to move up the Gulf and lose power before making landfall in southeastern Iran. Because such storms are virtually unheard of in this part of the world, authorities treated the storm with considerable caution: government offices in Oman and most private businesses declared a holiday from June 5 until June 9. They recommended people stay in their homes as much as possible and stock basic supplies and emergency needs, according to Middle East Online. Residents in low-lying coastal areas in southeastern Iran were also being evacuated, while the fishing fleet in neighboring Pakistan was ordered to stay in as waves battered the shores. Gonu, however, did not appear poised to reach the Straits of Hormuz, and oil shipping from the Persian Gulf had not been significantly disrupted as of June 6, according to a number of news services.

NASA image by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team at Goddard Space Flight Center.