| Tropical Storm Phet Takes Aim at Karachi
| Saturday, June 5, 2010
|Phet, now the equivalent of a tropical storm, will target Karachi, Pakistan, later in the weekend.
The projected path of Phet brings it into contact with millions of lives along the northern Arabian Seacoast in the Middle East through the weekend.
Phet weakened Friday evening EDT with winds decreasing from 74 mph, which is Category 1 hurricane status, to 69 mph. The storm continued to weaken further Friday night with its maximum sustained winds dropping to 40 mph as of Saturday morning.
Phet slammed into Oman Thursday evening. Soon after landfall, the strength of the storm's maximum sustained winds were equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane. Phet's intensity matched a Category 4 hurricane as recently as early Thursday morning.
The interaction with land is what caused Phet to weaken early Friday morning, but it remained a potent storm. The storm dumped nearly 6 inches of rain in 24 hours, ending Friday morning EDT, on Ras al Hadd, Oman. Over 13 inches of rain fell during the day Friday at the mountain resort of Jabal Shams.
The track of Phet curved eastward Friday, taking the storm back over the warm, open waters of the northern Arabian Sea.
Despite this favorable track over warm waters, winds high in the atmosphere, also known as wind shear, became too strong and caused Phet to continue to weaken.
Regardless of its strength, Phet should slam into coast of Pakistan near the city of Karachi later Sunday. Whether its strength equals that of a tropical storm or tropical rainstorm, Phet will threaten southern Pakistan and northwestern India with flooding rain.
Fifteen and a half million people live in the city of Karachi, part of the Indus River Delta region.
Small craft should avoid the northern Arabian Sea or remain in port, until the storm has moved inland over Pakistan and northern India. The storm may affect shipping out of the Gulf of Oman for up to several days.
The northwestern edge of the Gulf of Oman is connected to the Persian Gulf by the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that 40 percent of seaborne oil passes through this strait.
Rough seas kicked up by Phet forced Petroleum Development Oman to halt oil production and exports on Friday, but no facilities have been damaged, according to Reuters. A spokesman said that the exporting facility is fine, but oil is not being loaded since ships cannot anchor at the facility due to the rough seas.
Waves near the shores of Oman, Iran and Pakistan were between 15 and 25 feet Friday and Saturday.
|posted by Moderator Londen time 5:43 PM