An extremely powerful cyclone, the equivalent of the most powerful hurricane, is hitting Oman in the Indian Ocean. The highly unusual storm has sustained winds of 160 MPH, and has developed because, like most ocean areas, the Indian Ocean is experiencing higher than normal water temperatures. The BBC news quotes one resident as saying, “I have lived in Oman for nearly 10 years and I have never experienced something like this.” Tropical Storm Gonu is heading toward Oman’s east coast, and residents of outlying islands are being evacuated. The storm is expected to strike Oman, then cross the gulf to Iran. It is the strongest storm to hit the Arabian Peninsula since record keeping began in 1945. Should the cyclone strike Muscat, which now appears to be the case, major damage could result because the city is completely unprepared for weather this violent. has warned in previous stories that storms arising in the Gulf of Mexico and the Bay of Bengal could be extremely dangerous because of the problem with water temperatures. The same is true of the Indian Ocean, and communities in that area are completely unprepared for such events. If the storm had turned east and struck the coast of India, thousands of lives would have been at stake, and billions of dollars of property damage would have resulted. Should such a storm move up the Bay of Bengal and strike Bangladesh, the first great environmental catastrophe caused by global warming could ensue, because millions of people living in the Ganges Delta would be unable to escape.

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