Met-8 Day Microphysics RGB

Tropical Cyclone Gati historic landfall in Somalia

21 November 2020 12:00 UTC-23 November 12:00 UTC

Met-8 Day Microphysics RGB
Met-8 Day Microphysics RGB

Tropical Cyclone Gati was the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in Somalia, when it hit the country in late November 2020.

Last Updated

06 May 2022

Published on

02 February 2021

By Jochen Kerkmann (EUMETSAT)

Storm Gati was the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in Somalia (source Wikipedia), and one of few tropical cyclones to do so in the country.

The third cyclonic storm of the 2020 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, Gati formed from an area of low pressure in the Arabian Sea, on 21 November. The storm then explosively intensified (in 12 hours, Gati’s winds intensified from 65 km to 185 km per hour), becoming a severe tropical cyclone. It reached its peak intensity on 22 November, as a category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, see track of Gati (Credit: CIMSS).

Gati weakened slightly before making landfall in the Bari region of northeastern Somalia on 22 November at around 13:00 UTC. Gati was the first hurricane-force cyclone to make landfall in Somalia since satellite records began 50 years ago. Gati then weakened and became disorganized as it moved inland.

Gati caused heavy rainfall over Somalia, in particular in northern Somalia, see rainfall accumulation from 21-23 November, peaking at 128 mm in Bosaso (Credit: NASA Earth Observatory).

At least nine people died as a result of the storm; almost 4,000 properties, belonging to nomadic communities, were destroyed; an estimated 10,000 animals were killed in Ufeyn, and 42,000 people were displaced. Minor impacts were also observed on the Yemeni island of Socotra and in the Ethiopian Highlands.

Cyclone Gati was well observed by both Meteosat satellites, Meteosat-8 and Meteosat-11. However, Meteosat-8 was better positioned for the observation of Eastern Africa (Somalia is at about 50 deg East), as seen in the animations in Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1 shows the Meteosat-8 Tropical Airmass RGB from 21 November to 23 November. This RGB is identical to the Airmass RGB, but tuned to tropical conditions (much colder, higher clouds). High clouds appear as ochre, with the highest clouds (overshooting tops) as white. Both, the rapid intensification of Gati on 22 November, with the formation of a distinct eye, as well as the landfall and the decay over the Gulf of Aden, can be seen.

Figure 1: Meteosat-8 Tropical Airmass RGB, 21 November 12:00 UTC to 23 November 12:00 UTC, hourly time steps.

Figure 2, which displays the High Resolution Visible channel (HRV, 1 km sampling), gives a more detailed view of the hours before landfall of Gati. The structure of the eye (diameter of about 30 km), the spiral bands and related convection and the weakening of the cyclone shortly before landfall are well observed.

Figure 2: Meteosat-8 High Resolution Visible (HRV) Channel, 22 November 03:00-12:00 UTC, 15-min time steps.

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Gati Makes Historic Landfall in Somalia (NASA Earth Observatory)
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