Cyclone Hidaya: Kenya To Be Spared Full Wrath Thanks To The Equator mitigating its impact

Kenya appears poised to escape the full brunt of Tropical Cyclone Hidaya, with the Equator playing a crucial role in mitigating its impact.

According to recent updates from the Kenya Meteorological Department, while the country will indeed experience some effects of the cyclone, they are expected to be on the periphery. The department clarified that Cyclone Hidaya is likely to weaken into a depression as it approaches land, with its eye projected to make landfall just around or below 5°S from the equator.

This revelation comes in response to inquiries sparked by a tweet from five years ago, in which the Meteorological Department asserted that cyclones could not approach the equator. As Cyclone Hidaya bears down on the Kenyan coast, curious citizens have sought explanations for this apparent discrepancy, especially considering the devastation wrought by Cyclone Kenneth in neighboring Tanzania and other regions.

Back in 2019, when Cyclone Kenneth was a looming threat, the Meteorological Department assured the public that it would not make landfall on the Kenyan coast due to the laws of physics preventing cyclones from venturing so close to the equator. However, it was noted that Kenya might experience enhanced rainfall in certain areas as a result of the cyclone’s influence.

In the face of Cyclone Hidaya’s imminent arrival, the government has issued warnings and taken preventive measures, including banning beach activities to safeguard lives. Concerned individuals like Anna Konuche have questioned why Cyclone Hidaya is impacting Kenya despite the earlier assertions about cyclone behavior near the equator.

In response to these queries, the Meteorological Department reiterated that the laws governing cyclone formation remain unchanged. While Kenya may experience effects from the fringes of the cyclone, its intensity is expected to diminish, possibly becoming a depression upon landfall.

The phenomenon of cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes steering clear of the equator is attributed to the Coriolis effect, which influences the paths of moving objects on Earth’s surface. This effect arises from the planet’s rotation, causing objects to deflect as they traverse long distances.

Gary Barnes, a Professor of Meteorology, elucidates that the Coriolis force, though an apparent force, plays a crucial role in steering storms away from the equator. He explains that even in the absence of large-scale winds, the Coriolis effect can propel storms towards higher latitudes, making it difficult for them to cross the equatorial region.

In essence, while Cyclone Hidaya may encroach upon Kenyan territory, its interaction with the Equator and the Coriolis effect is expected to mitigate its impact, underscoring the intricate dynamics of weather systems in the region.