It's too early to talk about the landfall since the system is located quite far from the mainland and at least five days away from hitting the home stretch.

Vinson Kurian

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec. 4

THE petering out of Tropical Cyclone Baaz has been matched only by the buzz over South Andaman Sea, which became louder on Sunday lest coastal Tamil Nadu not lend an attentive ear.

There is a new low-pressure area now, that joins the two existing circulations - the remnant `Baaz' over the south peninsula and a `low' over east-central Arabian Sea - to bring back the shear zone of convective turbulence to peak activity from east to west.

Rain-bearing systems of varying sizes play around in this zone, unmindful of the misery they cause to lives of lakhs of people on ground.

According to Dr K.J. Ramesh of the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), the new circulation has all it takes to grow into a well-marked `low' and intensify further as it churned west, attracted as it will be by the warm waters off the eastern Sri Lanka coast.

The warming anomaly would progressively extend to the contiguous coastal Tamil Nadu waters, which are relatively cool now in the wake of Cyclone Baaz having rained its stuff.

All major weather models tend to support a scenario in which coastal Tamil Nadu will have to contend with another turbulence, possibly by the weekend.

The intensity with which it can strike will depend on a host of factors that fluctuate on a daily, if not hourly, basis and which combined to undermine `Baaz' as it neared coast. The UK Met Office and the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting models indicate that the storm might cross-land by Thursday/Friday (December 8/9).

The UKMO goes on to suggest that the crossover will be somewhere close to Pondicherry-Karaikal.

The National Centres for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) is generally in agreement with this outlook but without exactly specifying the point of landfall. Dr Ramesh of NCMRWF told Business Line that it would be too early to talk about the landfall since the system was located quite far from the mainland (850 nautical miles or 1,575 km east-southeast of Chennai) on Sunday and at least five days away from hitting the home stretch.

Meanwhile, a weather update from NCMRWF said that the 24 hours ending 8.30 a.m. on Sunday saw fairly widespread rainfall with isolated showers lashing north Tamil Nadu and south coastal Andhra Pradesh. Moderate rainfall was reported from Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, the Konkan, Madhya Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The `low' over the north coastal Tamil Nadu and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal (remnant of `Baaz') has weakened further and remains as an upper air cyclonic circulation with its inland movement during the last 24 hours.

The convective clouds associated with the three `live' monsoon circulations are expected to sustain the fairly widespread rainfall activity over north Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, south interior Karnataka, Kerala, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep for at least the next two days.

On Sunday, the zone of heavy precipitation was seen shifting to Rayalaseema and south interior Karnataka.

However, moderate rainfall activity is expected to continue over the south peninsular India subsequently in view of the presence of the active east-west shear zone.

Influence of the mid-latitude westerly trough has ensured that the convective cloud bands associated with the `low' over the Arabian Sea continue to extend northeast to the Malabar coast, madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, north coastal Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

Isolated to scattered rainfall activity are likely in these during the next 24-36 hours.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 5, 2005)
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