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Infrared satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu on May 23, 2018. Credit: U-Wisconsin/CIMSS.

Tropical Cyclone Mekunu is gathering strength in the Arabian Sea, where it could become the equivalent of a Category 2 or even Category 3 storm prior to making landfall in an unusual place: Southwestern Oman.

Why it matters: The storm is projected to move to the north-northwest through Saturday, eventually making landfall near the port city of Salalah. The city has a population of about 360,000, and typically receives just 5 to 8 inches of rain in an entire year. This storm could bring that same amount in under a day, presenting the risk of life-threatening flash flooding, in addition to damage from high winds.

Threat level: The flood threat will extend to northeastern Yemen and the desert of Saudi Arabia, where the storm will fizzle over the weekend, due to the ingestion of hot, dry air sitting over the Kingdom.

Unprecedented: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's database, no Category 2 or stronger storm has made landfall in southwestern Oman, making this a unique threat. Cyclone Mekunu also comes just one week after Cyclone Sagar struck Somalia and Djibouti, causing flooding in several countries.

Go deeper

Moderna says vaccine appears to protect against new COVID-19 variants

Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 15 mins ago - World

Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.