A powerful Category 4 tropical cyclone grazed the desert coast of Oman today. The oil producing country has evacuated some areas and shut down its oil exports in response to the storm, which is not expected to disrupt Saudi or Emirati oil supplies. News still sent prices of crude past $70 per barrel
. According to NASA's Earth Observatory
Though rare, cyclones like Gonu are not unheard of in the northern Indian Ocean basin. Most cyclones that form in the region form over the Bay of Bengal, east of India. Those that take shape over the Arabian Sea, west of the Indian peninsula, tend to be small and fizzle out before coming ashore. Cyclone Gonu is a rare exception.
Before coming ashore, the storm reached max winds of 160 mph, making it a Category 5 storm. Latest reports have it moving, at Category 2 strength, toward Iran, across the Gulf of Oman.