The storm could ratchet up wind speeds to as high as 185 km/hr ahead of landfall on Thursday.

Very severe cyclonic storm Lehar lay centred over south-east and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal on Tuesday afternoon.

It was to about 430 km west-north-west of Port Blair; 920 km east-south-east of Machillipatnam; 850 km east-south-east of Kakinada; and 780 km south-east of Kalingapatnam, India Met Department said.

WIND PEAKS

Lehar would intensify further and move west-north-west and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Machillipatnam and Kalingapatnam near Kakinada by Thursday noon. There is now an emerging consensus that the high winds packing the storm may not peak to the ferocious 185-km/hr level forecast initially. The Met Department now estimates peak speeds in the range of 170-180 km/hr. Some global models calibrate it still lower at 165 km/hr.

WARNING ISSUED

Not that this will make a material change to the damage potential that Lehar will bring to bear on coastal Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha, say storm watchers.

The Met Department issued the following warnings for Andhra Pradesh and adjoining Odisha coasts. Storm surge of two to three metres may flood low-lying areas of west and east Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Krishna and Yanam (Puducherry-administered) districts. Landfall will bring gale winds clocking 170-180 km/hr and gusting to 200 km/hr in Krishna; west and east Godavari; Visakhapatnam; and Yanam. In Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and Guntur, winds speeds expected are 120-130 km/hr gusting to 140 km/hr.

STATE OF SEA

Squally winds speed of 55-65 km/hr gusting to 75 km/hr would prevail along and off the remaining districts of Andhra Pradesh. The state of the sea will be ‘rough’ to ‘very rough’ from Thursday evening, the Met Department said.

(Sea conditions range from being calm, smooth, slight, moderate, rough, very rough, high and very high to phenomenal.) It will become ‘phenomenal’ on Friday along and off the north coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining south coastal Andhra Pradesh.

RAIN OUTLOOK

It will be ‘rough’ to ‘very rough’ along and off south Odisha coast during this period.

Moderate rainfall would commence from Thursday afternoon at many places over north coastal Andhra Pradesh; Yanam district; and south coastal Odisha.

It will scale up to being heavy to very heavy at a few places and isolated extremely heavy over north coastal Andhra Pradesh, Yanam, south Odisha and south coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Extensive damage to kutcha houses, disruption of power and communication lines and rail and road traffic have been warned of at the time of landfall.

There is also potential threat from flying debris, the Met Department said.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 25, 2013)
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