Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Adapted from Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies; GIF: Harry Stevens/Axios

The full wrath of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu is moving across the coast of southwest Oman and northeastern Yemen on Friday.

The impact: No storm this strong has hit this area since reliable records began in the 1950s, and it's possible the damage from Mekunu will be billions of dollars. Due to a long-running civil war, Yemen does not have robust disaster response capabilities. Plus, the country is in the midst of one of the world's worst cholera outbreaks, which could be exacerbated by this year's rainy season. Oman, however, has more robust response capabilities, but still may be overwhelmed by this event.

The details: With maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, the Indian Meteorological Department classifies it as an "Extremely severe cyclonic storm" — equivalent in strength to a Category 3 hurricane. The storm has been rapidly intensifying in the hours prior to landfall, defying forecasts that called for weakening due to dry desert air that lurks just to the north.

Why it matters: The storm is moving onto the coast over a populated area, with the city of Salalah, Oman — population 300,000 — directly in its path. Cyclone Mekunu is bringing damaging winds, high waves of up to 40 feet and storm surge flooding, as well as heavy rains to an area used to seeing a paltry 5 to 10 inches of rain per year. Life-threatening flash floods are highly likely to occur.

The damage so far: Cylone Mekunu has already left a trail of destruction on the Yemeni island of Socotra, where 17 people are missing, according to the Associated Press.

This is not normal: It is relatively common for weak tropical cyclones to hit Oman off the Arabian Sea. According to The Weather Channel, the last tropical cyclone that ranked as equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane hit southwestern Oman in 1959, but there is no record of a Category 2 landfall in this part of Oman. Suggesting the potential for widespread damage from Cyclone Mekunu, The Weather Channel cited a 2006 Royal Meteorological Society paper that found the 1959 storm destroyed buildings and destroyed the main road from Salalah to the port of Raysut.

This storm comes just one week after Tropical Cyclone Sagar hit Somalia and Djibouti, affecting hundreds of thousands who had been suffering from a drought and were suddenly faced with the effects of a deluge.

Track the storm: Joint Typhoon Warning Center; Times of Oman Cyclone Mekunu Liveblog.

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 11:45 a.m. ET to indicate it had intensified into the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.

The week markets went wild

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio

The markets just closed out a manic week.

Why it matters: Outsized — and in some cases historic — moves were evident across the board.