Tropical cyclone Phet (pronounce: pet, Thai for diamond) is currently strenghtening very rapidly in the Arabian Sea, west of India. The storm is currently equivalent in strength to a category IV hurricane, and will reach a maximum strength of category V, with winds of 140 knots or 160 mph by tomorrow. In the early hours of Friday, Phet will make landfall in Oman at that intensity and track overland to reemerge over the Arabian Sea on a northeasterly bearing and a lot weaker.
This is the second cat V storm in the Arabian Sea in three years; Gonu devastated Oman in 2007. The waters of the sea are very warm, not surprising if you know that Pakistan is suffering an extreme heatwave, with temperatures reported at 53.6C (128F) in the south. The monsoon will move in during July, but it is common for extremely high temperatures to occur ahead of its coming.
My tropical cyclones blog, which copies advisories from various hurricane agencies around the world, has suddenly become very popular, with nearly 1,400 hits in the past 16 hours. The Indian TC agency's website is inaccessible, and people in the area are very concerned.
The first tropical cyclone in the Eastern Pacific has exacted a fearful toll in human life, with more than 100 people reported killed in Guatemala, El Salvador and southern Mexico. Tropical storm Agatha unleashed 30 inches of rain on the mountainous terrain there, causing flashfloods and mudslides.